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Gummy Bear Meets Potassium Chlorate Science Experiment

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Here are most of the supplies you will need for this experiment.

Here are most of the supplies you will need for this experiment.

Generating Scientific Interest

A poor defenseless gummy bear, a test tube full of liquid potassium chlorate, and a couple of slightly mad scientists; seems like the perfect set up for some absurd B-movie horror flick, does it not? Well, not quite.

It is more along the lines of two college science majors trying to come up with an experiment that will entertain a room full of high school freshmen and possibly plant the seed for a future scientist at the same time.

So, like any good chemist, we figured that the more noise, smoke, and fire involved, the better. And what better way to achieve that than a rapid oxidation reaction?

So, while some may call us cruel for this, we decided to sacrifice Bob, a.k.a the gummy bear, as a source of amusement to accomplish our goal, and it worked quite nicely.

The Science Behind the Procedure

So on to the procedure!

Since we were the most explosive experiment, we started the experiment shindig with a blast, or, to make it more technical, with a rapid oxidation reaction. This reaction was, plainly put, placing a gummy bear into about 10 g of molten potassium chlorate. If you are unfamiliar with molten potassium chlorate, it is a strong oxidizing agent that reacts violently with sugar, and gummy bears, those delicious goodies, have lots of sugar in them. So, in all, we have two reactions taking place here; the decomposition of the metal chlorates into a metal chloride and oxygen gas (2KClO3(S) → KCl (s) + 3O2(g)) when heated, and the sugar (gummy bear) reacting with the oxygen gas to produce carbon dioxide and water (C12H22O11(s) + 12 O2(g) →12 CO2(g) + 11 H2O (g)). In the second reaction, we have a release of energy in the form of heat and bright light, thus quite a nice exothermic reaction. And, of course, we did this whole experiment behind the safety of a fume hood because, let’s face it, no one wants molten gummy bear to get on them.

Materials

  • 10 g Potassium Chlorate
  • 1 Gummy Bear
  • 1 Long Medium/Large Test Tube
  • 1 Bunsen Burner/Hot Plate
  • 1 Test Tube Holder
  • 1 Long Metal Tweezers
  • 1 Fume Hood
The gummy bear is consumed as it reacts with heated potassium chlorate.

The gummy bear is consumed as it reacts with heated potassium chlorate.

Procedure

  1. Pour about 10 g of Potassium chlorate into a long medium/large test tube. Do not do this experiment with a small or short test tube, as molten pieces of bear will fly out while the reaction progresses.
  2. Place the test tube into a clamp on a ring stand. Make sure that this set up is done in a Fume Hood. There will be lots of smoke, fire, and possible flaming pieces of molten gummy bear.
  3. Place the end of the test tube under a Bunsen Burner or onto a hot plate. (Bunsen Burner will give quicker results). Heat the Potassium chlorate until it is in a liquid state.
  4. Use a pare of metal tweezers to carefully add a gummy bear to the mixture. *Note: the potassium chorate will quickly recrystallize so do not take to long to add the gummy bear.
  5. Close the hood. Stand back and enjoy.

Caution

*NOTE: This experiment looks awesome, this is true, but this is a dangerous reaction that should only be done in a lab by professionals or under the supervision of professionals. So, if you are interested, talk to your chemistry teacher. Or, if you are a professional, go have fun.

Comments

Mackenzie boll on November 05, 2019:

What property’s change during the reaction

Jason on October 08, 2019:

Can you do it outside without the fume hood

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Read More From Owlcation

Anabelle on September 15, 2019:

Why is it pink

OwO on September 09, 2019:

perhaps

Vionica on March 26, 2019:

Cool experiment

Epic games oficial on November 01, 2018:

Love the support guys

lazerbeam on August 02, 2018:

fortnite is da bomb of all games litarliry because of fly explosives

hi on March 05, 2018:

im doing it for my scince class 6th grade

Fortnite Player on January 19, 2018:

You guys play Fortnite?

Bugoo on June 05, 2017:

I'm using it as one of my assignment in the classroom for marks. I'm in grade 9 by the way.

Anna O'Malley (author) from United States on February 09, 2015:

Curious Person,

I obtained my potassium chlorate from my Chemistry Prof. Though, there are many companies online that you can order it from.

Curious person on December 09, 2014:

How did you acquire your potassium chlorate?

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