“Charcoal foam” experiment
How to make a huge snake with sugar and sulfuric acid
In this cool and dangerous experiment, you’ll see how to create an enormous charcoal snake.
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! Don’t try to repeat this experiment at home. This experiment is supposed to be conducted only by a professional.
Reagents and equipment:
- concentrated sulfuric acid;
- glass cylinder;
- glass rod.
Fill a cylinder approximately two thirds full of sugar. Add 30 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid and stir with a glass rod. After a while a black column of products of the dehydration and oxidation of sugar begin to come out of the cylinder.
Owing to its dehydrating and oxidizing ability, sulfuric acid causes the breakdown and carbonization of sugar. The mixture heats up, and water vapor, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gases are released. This leads to the products of the breakdown of sugar being pushed out of the cylinder. As soon as they make contact with air, they cool and harden.