“Piranha” mixture vs. bamboo stick

How to dissolve wood

We’d like to show you one of the most dan­ger­ous mix­tures in the world – the “pi­ran­ha mix­ture”! It eats through al­most all or­gan­ic mat­ter in its path. This preda­tor re­al­ly means busi­ness!

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • con­cen­trat­ed sul­fu­ric acid;
  • con­cen­trat­ed hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide;
  • wood­en stick;
  • beaker.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Pour hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide into the beaker, and then care­ful­ly add con­cen­trat­ed sul­fu­ric acid. The “pi­ran­ha mix­ture” is ready. Now put a wood­en stick into the mix­ture. The stick starts to car­bonize and dis­solve in the mix­ture. Af­ter a few sec­onds, not a trace is left of it!

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

The mix­ture of con­cen­trat­ed sul­fu­ric acid and hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide is called the “pi­ran­ha”. It’s one of the strong­est ox­i­diz­ing mix­tures in the world. It eats through al­most all or­gan­ic mat­ter. Sul­fu­ric acid car­bonizes or­gan­ic com­pounds, turn­ing them into car­bon, while hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide ox­i­dizes car­bon to car­bon diox­ide.

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

When work­ing with con­cen­trat­ed sul­fu­ric acid and hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide, wear pro­tec­tive gloves and glass­es, and a lab coat. The mix­ture is very dan­ger­ous, and can leave burns on the skin and clothes.

Warn­ing! Don’t try to re­peat this ex­per­i­ment with­out a pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion!