Fun Chemistry Experiment - Violent Gummy Bears
Here’s a fun experiment you can do in class or in lab. It involves an oxidation-reduction reaction between potassium chlorate and sucrose.
Potassium chlorate (KClO3) is a powerful oxidizing agent that is most commonly used in the fireworks industry to make “snappers” or “poppers.” Historically it has been used as a propellant in firearms and ammunition, but it has proven to be much more unstable and expensive compared to potassium perchlorate, its close relative. Being a strong oxidizer, KClO3 will react spontaneously with many minerals, including sucrose (sugar).
Gummy bears are made largely of sucrose and are easily obtainable, so they are ideal for this experiment. The chemical composition of sucrose is C12H22O11. When a gummy bear is placed in contact with molten KClO3 it will rapidly decompose into carbon dioxide and water, leaving the potassium chlorate oxidized to potassium chloride.
A balanced equation for this reaction is below, but it is unlikely an experiment would result in a complete reaction between sucrose and potassium chlorate.
C12H22O11 (s) + 24 KClO3 (l) —-> 24 KCl (l) + CO2 (g) + 11 H2O (g)
The experiment is quite fun to watch!
Remember, don’t try any experiment (especially one as potentially harmful as this one) without proper equipment and safety gear!
Everybody loves this molecule. It is called Sucrose.
It’s an organic compound commonly known as table sugar. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its nutritional role. Its chemical formula is C12H22O11.
Refined sugar was a luxury before the 18th century. It became widely popular in 18th century, then graduated to becoming a necessary food in the 19th century.