Friday 28 February 2014

Turn Fire Into A Snake!

Have you ever tried making a volcano model using baking soda and vinegar? Or mixing two different food colouring to get a new colour for your icing? If it never occurred that you are already a chemist in your own house, try remembering that each time you make a glass of Milo, or cook a meal, you are actually using principles of chemistry.

Let us explore and try to turn fire into a snake by doing an experiment using baking soda, sugar, methylated spirits and a lighter. You can use matches in case you don't have a lighter. 
What you need are two parts of sugar mixed with one part of baking soda. Mix it on a fireproof surface such as aluminium foil and put a few drops of methylated spirits. You can get it from pharmacies or maybe in your first aid kit. Then, ignite it with a kitchen lighter. To make it grow in shape, it is best if you put some sand as base before adding in the mixture of baking soda and sugar.
So, what do you think will happen? When the baking soda is heated to a specific temperature, carbon dioxide gas is released. Pressure will then build up which causes the black 'snake' to form. The 'snake' is black in colour due to the sugar being caramelized by the heat produced from the combustion. Try it out, it's cool! Now let's watch the video below.

As a safety precaution, have a pail of water nearby or do it near a sink. In case you panic you can throw the mixture into the pail or sink. Don't get burned or set your house on fire! This is a project which requires adult supervision.

With a pinch of adventurous enthusiasm, a tablespoon of science knowledge available online or in books, and a cup of safety precaution, you can turn your kitchen into a fun classroom for yourself and family members!

Shared by Izhana
Learning Specialist, Petrosains

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