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Elephant Toothpaste

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  • Description: Here is a chemistry demo dubbed "Elephant Toothpaste". I like the controlled evolution of the foam coming from a 2 liter bottle better than from any other vessel. In a later video we'll show you how we got that 2-liter bottle to look more like a one liter bottle (notice the wrapper hanging loosely from the bottle).

    Technically speaking this is the catalytic and thermal decomposition of H2O2 to oxygen and water by iodide and heat evolution (boiling water).

    I want you to envision this as a molecular bubble wand. As the oxidation/decomposition is occurring oxygen is being formed and since it's a gas (at this temperature) it forms micro (possibly even nano) bubbles in the Dawn dishwashing liquid that has been added.

    Why are there so many? If you've never heard of Avogadros number, I'll briefly explain. There are 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd power atoms in an equivalent of every chemical. That's 602300000000000000000000 atoms. In this experiment I'd say we were at about 1/15 of that as we used about 10grams of iodide.

    The smoke you see is simply steam from boiling water. This reaction and the formation of water is exothermic (gives off heat), but the maximum temperature it can reach is 212F (100C).

    Oh well, enough splainin. I hope you enjoyed this video!
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