Updated: Aug 28, 2022
What is elephant toothpaste? With this science experiment, you learn about chemical reactions and explore the awesome world of chemistry.
Hydrogen peroxide is a liquid made from hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms. It is available in different strengths or concentrations and also breaks down when exposed to light, which is why it usually comes in dark brown bottles. Hydrogen peroxide is also a common antiseptic used to clean cuts and scrapes by killing bacteria.
When hydrogen peroxide breaks down, it normally happens very slowly. By adding a catalyst, you can make this reaction faster. Yeast is an organism that contains a special chemical called catalase that can act as a catalyst to help break down hydrogen peroxide.
This simple experiment will help you create your very own giant foamy reaction using hydrogen peroxide and yeast. We call this foam elephant toothpaste. Have fun, STEM Warriors!
WHAT YOU NEEED
3. Clean 350 or 500ml Water Bottle
4. 2 Tbsp Warm Water
5. 1 Tsp Yeast
6. 1 Tbsp Dish Soap
7. Food Color
8. 120ml Hydrogen Peroxide (10-20 volumes)
9. Glass Bowl
11. Glass Rectangular Tray
WHAT YOU DO
1. Put the plastic bottle in the middle of the glass rectangular tray. Put the funnel into the opening of the water bottle.
2. Add 1 tbsp dish soap to the water bottle. Then, add 120ml of Hydrogen peroxide and 2-3 drops of food color to the mixture.
3. Mix all the liquids by shaking the bottle. Leave it for a few minutes.
4. In the glass bowl, add 1tsp of yeast and 2 tbsps of warm water. Mix it thoroughly.
5. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the water bottle. Remove the funnel out of the water bottle.
6. Observe the chemical reaction and the foam that flows out of the water bottle. That foam is your elephant toothpaste!
When the yeast mixture was mixed with the hydrogen peroxide mixture, it rapidly broke down into water and oxygen gas. The oxygen gas forms bubbles and these bubbles would usually escape from the liquid and pop quickly. But adding a little dish soap provides additional surface tension, allowing the bubbles to get trapped and creating lots of foam. This foam looks like a giant squeeze of toothpaste - almost big enough for an elephant.
Learn more about crystals here: