"Carbon snake" experiment
How to make a huge black snake of sugar and sulfuric acid
Reagents and equipment:
- concentrated sulfuric acid;
- beaker (50 ml).
Fill a beaker approximately two thirds full of sugar. Add 10-15 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid. After a while a black column of products of the dehydration and oxidation of sugar begin to come out of the glass.
Owing to its dehydrating and oxidizing ability, sulfuric acid causes the breakdown and carbonization of sugar. The mixture heats up, and water vapor and carbon dioxide are released. This leads to the products of the breakdown of sugar being pushed out of the glass. As soon as they make contact with air, they cool and harden.
The reaction mixture heats up intensely – avoid burns! Make sure sulfuric acid doesn’t get on your skin or clothes. Wear protective glasses and gloves. The experiment should be carried out in a fume hood or well-ventilated room. Follow general safety recommendations. Chemical experiments must be carried out in full compliance with the legislation of your country.
Warning! Only under professional supervision.