"Gluconate snake" experiment

How to make a Pharaoh's snake of calcium gluconate and dry fuel

From cal­ci­um glu­conate tablets, snakes are born!

Reagents and equip­ment:

  • sev­er­al tablets of cal­ci­um glu­conate;
  • a tablet of dry fuel (urotropine);
  • fire­proof sur­face;
  • lighter.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Place the dry fuel tablet on the fire­proof sur­face. Put sev­er­al tablets of cal­ci­um glu­conate on top of the fuel tablet. Set fire to the dry fuel. Ob­serve how dark “snakes” grad­u­al­ly crawl out of the fire.

Pro­cess­es de­scrip­tion

Cal­ci­um glu­conate breaks down and ox­i­dizes when heat­ed, form­ing wa­ter va­por and car­bon diox­ide. The prod­ucts of break­down, cal­ci­um ox­ide and car­bon, have a greater vol­ume than the ini­tial sub­stance, and so a snake forms.

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Avoid burns! Wear pro­tec­tive glass­es and gloves. Don’t con­duct the ex­per­i­ment near flammable sub­stances and ob­jects. Fire-ex­tin­guish­ing equip­ment should be at the ready. 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! Sub­stances of this ex­per­i­ment are tox­ic and high­ly dan­ger­ous for your health. Do not try this at home. Only un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion.