Gummy bear volcano

Gummy bears vigorously burn in a test-tube

Scientific name: Sugar contained in gummy bears reacts with molten potassium chlorate

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Safety

Wear eye protection and lab gloves. There is a serious fire risk - a fire extinguisher should be ready. Make sure there is nothing flammable nearby. Keep away from the tube during the reaction.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

2KClO3 → 2KCl + 3O2

C12H22O11 + 12O2 → 12CO2 + 11H2O

Step-by-step instruction

WARNING! This experiment is dangerous! You should NOT perform this at home. ONLY carry out this experiment, if you are a trained chemist, and you understand local safety and legal requirements, which are required to perform such experiments

  1. Put a few grams of potassium chlorate into a test-tube.
  2. Heat the test-tube with a burner until potassium chlorate fully melts.
  3. After this drop a gummy bear (gelatin candy) into the test-tube.

Scientific background

Potassium chlorate undergoes thermal decomposition and produces an excess of oxygen. The gummy bear mostly consist of sucrose which is ignited by oxygen from potassium chlorate. Other organic components of the gummy bear (i.e., gelatin) also undergo oxidation. Much heat is produced in these reactions, the thermal decomposition of potassium chlorate continues, and we observe a bright flame and explosions in the test-tube. Because of potassium the flame is painted in a pink-purple color. Molten potassium chlorate reacts similarly with a wood stick, if it is dropped instead of the gummy bear.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 13 April 2015

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