Gummis. The Gummis were screaming. | Bad Astronomy

Chemistry is [awesome][1].

Of course, when this experiment is done, you can no longer investigate [Gummi anatomy][2]. Such sacrifices are sometimes necessary.

And before I let you go…

_[Note added later: apparently, according to a few commenters below, the acid I describe is only needed if you don’t heat the perchlorate; they do in fact use a flame in the video. Still, who can resist a bit of chemistry?]_

I think the video leaves out an important part: you need a bit of sulfuric acid to make this work. Adding the acid to potassium chlorate yields chloric acid and potassium sulfate:


2 KClO3 + H2SO4 -> 2 HClO3 + K2SO4


Sugar reacts, um, _strongly_ to the chloric acid:


8 HClO3 + C12H22O11 -> 11 H2O + 12 CO2 + 8 HCl


You can see the water coming out of the test tube in the form of steam — the reaction is highly exothermic — and the purple flame is from potassium being heated. At the same time, a second reaction occurs, breaking up some of the sugar molecules into carbon and water. When the flames and sturm and drang are all done, what’s left is a black residue: carbon, the burnt remains of the tasty, tasty Gummi bear.

[![][3]][4] [![][5]][6]


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