It’s that Spook-tacular time of year again and making elephant toothpaste is perfect for any season….especially Halloween! This experiment works with hydrogen peroxide and illustrates catalytic decomposition. That’s a fancy definition for releasing oxygen rapidly! You’ve probably got hydrogen peroxide in your home, but remember…always work with a parent when doing experiments. You’ll need a few simple items to get started:
Empty water bottle
Liquid dish Soap
Hydrogen Peroxide (3% or 6%)
First, get some water water and add some yeast to it. The yeast acts as the catalyst in the experiment, which increases the rate the reaction occurs. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) will naturally decompose into oxygen and water, but the yeast increases that reaction rate and allows us to have some fun learning and watching what happens.
While the yeast is setting up, go ahead and take your hydrogen peroxide and pour it into the empty water bottle. Then add some liquid dish soap and swirl it around. Once you’re ready, pour the yeast water into your bottle and observe what happens!
The soap bubbles that are actually created are released oxygen gas from the chemical reaction. That’s why we added the soap, so that it could capture the released oxygen gas! What’s really cool is that the reaction is an exothermic reaction which means it creates heat as well.
Do it a few more times! Maybe trying to change some of the following variables:
Amount of water
Amount of dry yeast
Amount of Hydrogen peroxide
Have fun and remember, “Learning Science is Fun!”