elephant toothpaste

Chemical reaction foam fun for everyone!

Chemical reaction foam fun for everyone!

Have you ever heard of an exothermic reaction? Well, it’s okay if you haven’t, our elephant toothpaste experiment will teach you all about them. Get your goggles on scientist, you’re in for quite the eruption…of elephant-sized proportions!

Elephant toothpaste may sound like something to brush an elephant’s teeth with, but it’s actually quite the scientific feat (for viewing purposes only, definitely don’t use this as toothpaste). The foam that’s created by hydrogen peroxide, yeast and some dish soap, combines to create this exothermic reaction, which means that heat is being released as our “toothpaste” expands! The addition of food coloring makes it look like toothpaste when coming up the cylinder, but be advised, this is something that you will want to steer clear of your pearly whites.

Elephant Toothpaste

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 clean plastic bottle
  • ½ cup of 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (you can find the crème variation at any beauty supply store)
  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp. of warm water
  • liquid dish soap
  • food coloring of your choice
  • funnel (for optimal pouring ability)
  • safety goggles
  • vinyl safety gloves
  • a small cup

Directions:

  • Put on your safety gear. Your goggles will protect your eyes from any overflow, and the gloves will protect your hands from any of the chemicals you are about to use.
  • Carefully add in the hydrogen peroxide into the clean bottle using a funnel (if you’ve got one)
  • Add in the dish soap to the bottle, and then carefully swish it around until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Add 8 drops of your food coloring of choice to the sides of the bottle.
  • In a separate cup, combine warm water with yeast, and mix together for 30 seconds.
  • Place the funnel at the top of the bottle, and then quickly pour the yeast mixture in.
  • Remove the funnel quick, your elephant toothpaste will be rising up soon fast!
  • Put on your safety gear. Your goggles will protect your eyes from any overflow, and the gloves will protect your hands from any of the chemicals you are about to use.

Tips:

  • The foam that is produced by the elephant toothpaste is just a mixture of water, soap and oxygen. You can easily clean it up with a sponge, and pour any extra liquid left in the bottle down the drain.
  • Remember, this isn’t real toothpaste, it’s best to let the other brands do their best to keep your teeth shiny and clean.

Want a bigger reaction:

We’ve got an alternative way to make an even greater reaction than before, but just be careful, this one requires a bit more scientific expertise to do it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large glass container or beaker
  • 1 empty plastic bottle with a cap
  • ½ cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid (you can find the crème variation at any beauty supply store)
  • potassium iodide
  • 3 tbsp. of warm water
  • liquid dish soap
  • food coloring of your choice
  • safety goggles
  • vinyl safety gloves

Directions:

  • Take your potassium iodide, and pour it into a plastic bottle. Measure out the same amount of iodide to water, so that we create a solution of equal parts. Set it aside.
  • Pour 160 ml of 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid into the glass cylinder.
  • Add in 80 ml of liquid dish soap to the hydrogen peroxide. Swirl the glass container so that they mix thoroughly.
  • Add 8 drops of food coloring to the sides of the jar.
  • Quickly add the solution of potassium iodide and water to the cylinder and stand back. Move your hands quickly away, as your elephant toothpaste is going to make an explosive entrance out of the top of the cylinder!

Tips:

  • Be sure you don’t stand directly over the cylinder, because in this variation, the exothermic reaction occurs very rapidly resulting in a higher spout of elephant toothpaste!
  • This foam will stain clothes, skin, and carpet. Do your best to keep any valuables out of the way of the toothpaste’s reaction area.
  • Leave the gloves on while cleaning up. The foam and solution left in the graduated cylinder may be rinsed down the drain with a little extra water.