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Elephant Toothpaste

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Dylan Wheeler

on 31 March 2015

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Transcript of Elephant Toothpaste

October 31, 2015
Science7, Period 6
The question that will be answered is does the amount of the catalyst used (yeast) affect the amount of oxygen released from the hydrogen peroxide? What if we decided to use no yeast in the experiment, what would be the reaction? What would be the reaction if we use very little yeast in the experiment? These questions we will soon answer.
If yeast is a catalyst to speed up the decomposition process, then using no yeast should have no effect in the experiment because there is nothing to speed up the decomposition. Hydrogen peroxide decomposes at a slow rate. The slow rate will occur if there is nothing to speed it up. Also, if a smaller amount of yeast is used then less foam should be created because the least amount of the catalyst, the least amount of oxygen released from the hydrogen peroxide.
I am going to make Elephant's Toothpaste. Basically it is a decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. This experiment is sometimes done with 30% hydrogen peroxide mixed with liquid soap. We are going to use 6%. A catalyst is needed to speed up the decomposition process.
A catalyst for this experiment can be potassium iodide, or manganese dioxide, or bread yeast which makes the hydrogen peroxide decompose very quickly (Wikipedia.org). The more concentrated the hydrogen peroxide is, the more oxygen is released. The question I ask is; does the amount of the catalyst affect whether how much and how fast the oxygen is released from the hydrogen peroxide? We will soon find out.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide? Hydrogen Peroxide is similar to water. Its formula is H2O2. In its pure form it is a colorless liquid, slightly more viscous (thicker) than water. It looks pretty similar to the chemical formula for water, which is H2O, except that hydrogen peroxide has an extra "O", an extra oxygen. (wikipedia.org)
Hydrogen peroxide is unstable and decomposes to form water and oxygen at a slow rate (coolscience.org). A catalyst is needed to speed up the decomposition process. What is a catalyst? A catalyst is (in chemistry) a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected (dictionary.com). A catalyst can be potassium iodide, manganese dioxide, or yeast as we will use in this experiment (using-hydrogen-peroxide.com), (sciencebob.com).
The basic idea of elephant's toothpaste is to make hydrogen peroxide decompose quickly. The quick reaction or decomposition process causes an exothermic reaction, being warm or hot. Exothermic is pertaining to a chemical change that is accompanied by a release of heat (dictionary.com). Basically the fast decomposition process generates some heat.
The Question
Hydrogen Peroxide
Hi! I'm Dylan Wheeler
* A Clean 16 Ounce Soda Bottle
* 1/2 Cup 20-Volume Hydrogen Peroxide
(20 Volume is 6% Solution).
* 1 Tablespoon (1 packet) Dry Yeast
* 3 Tablespoons of Warm Water
* 1 Tablespoon of Liquid Dish Washing Soap
* Food Coloring
* Small Cup
* Small Pan
* Safety Goggles
Take your clean 16 oz soda bottle and sit it in the pan. Add the1/2 cup 20-volume hydrogen peroxide liquid.
Put On Your Safety Goggles
Add 8 drops of your favorite food coloring inside the bottle with the hydrogen peroxide.
Add any brand of dish washing soap into the bottle (about 1 tablespoon) and swirl the bottle around so it can mix.
In the small cup pour your packet of yeast, add the 3 tablespoons of warm water and mix for 30 seconds.
Now pour the yeast mixture into the 16 ounce bottle and watch the foam rise like a VOLCANO.
I have conducted this experiment four times. Each time I used a different amount of yeast to see if there was any affect. In experiment number one I used everything listed in the materials used section. The amount of foam used was a lot, overflowing in the pan that was used to catch the excess foam. Also the bottle and the pan was warm when touched. Almost hot. The experiment did create heat (exothermic).
In experiment number two I used a smaller amount (1/2 packet of yeast). Almost just as much foam was created in the second experiment as in the first. The pan and the bottle also were very warm when touched (exothermic).
In the third experiment 1/4 packet of yeast was used to see how much foam would be created. A medium amount of foam was created using 1/4 of yeast. Not as much as the first two experiments. The pan and bottle were warm to touch as well (exothermic).
In the fourth experiment no catalyst was used at all. In watching the experiment I noticed that very little bubbles had formed. There was some but not much. There was some type of reaction but, very little and at a much slower pace the bubbles were forming. No heat was generated from the little amount of foam.
In conducting this experiment I found out that hydrogen peroxide is almost similar to water in the molecule make of (H2O, H2O2). I learned the definition of catalyst and that it can speed up the breakdown process for some things such as hydrogen peroxide. I learned that without a catalyst hydrogen peroxide would take its normal pace to decompose into water and oxygen.
As the catalyst speeds up the decomposition process, releasing the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide, I found out that this process will generate heat as the hydrogen peroxide quickly breaks down into oxygen and water. In the four experiments I conducted I found that in the first two, it appeared to not matter how much yeast I used. The same results were produced. In the third experiment using very little yeast did produce a medium amount of foam, less than the first two. In the fourth experiment using no yeast produced a very small amount of foam but not much. My data does not fully support my hypothesis. Only on the third experiment part of my hypothesis was proven to be correct.
Further Work
In conducting this experiment I used dried bread yeast as a catalyst which produced amazing results. In conducting my research I have found that other catalyst can be used such as potassium iodide, or manganese dioxide. Also much stronger hydrogen peroxide (30%) has been used. I would like to see this experiment conducted using the much stronger materials to see a powerful reaction. Using a stronger catalyst would seem to have a faster and powerful reaction. An adult would be needed to assist with further work in this experiment.
Sciencebob.com: http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/toothpaste.php
SteveSpanglerScience.com: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/elephants-toothpaste
Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_toothpaste
Using-Hydrogen-Peroxide.com: http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/elephant-toothpaste.html
CoolScience.org: http://www.coolscience.org/CoolScience/KidScientists/h2o2.htm
Dictionary.reference.com: http://dictionary.reference.com/
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