Black snake. Dehydration of sugar

Sugar becomes black while increasing in volume.

Scientific name: Sugar reacts with sulfuric acid and is dehydrated forming carbon dioxide and carbon


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Reaction formula

C12H22O11 → 12 C + 11 H2O

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Pour a few grams of sugar in a beaker.
  2. Add concentrated sulfuric acid.
  3. Wait a few minutes.
  4. Watch the sugar become black and rapidly increase in volume

Scientific background

Concentrated sulfuric acid is a strong dehydrating agent. Thus, sulfuric acid reacts with sugar, thereby forming carbon. The increase in volume can be explained by the fact that the reaction products are oxidized to carbon dioxide and coal is loosened.


Published on 26 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst