Kids at the library explore chemical reactions such as how to make elephant toothpaste of all colors.
Kids at the library explore chemical reactions such as how to make elephant toothpaste of all colors.
Kids at the Humboldt County Library recently explored physical and chemical reactions with projects such as making elephant toothpaste and seeing what happens when Mentos are dropped into a two liter bottle of Diet Coke. 

Humboldt County Youth Library Technicians Jasmine Mendoza and Jayme Wells demonstrated several chemical and physical reactions between different substances, including what happens to ivory soap when microwaved in chunks (it expands). 

Wells recommended not trying to microwave soap at home due to the smell it leaves behind afterward, unless it is in a microwave used for experiments. 

Ivory soap floats in water due to the air pockets mixed in the whipping manufacturing process, compared to regular soap which sinks and does not expand when microwaved. 

Wells made a large version of elephant toothpaste using salon-grade hydrogen peroxide, food coloring, dish soap and activated yeast. The kids were able to make a less strong version with regular hydrogen peroxide and the same ingredients, which spilled over their water bottles onto metal trays after mixed, creating a foamy toothpaste like substance and generating some heath through the exothermic reaction. 

Wells explained that the yeast makes the chemical reaction between the other elements speed up faster, breaking apart the oxygen in hydrogen peroxide and separating it out, making the bubbles.

The group went outside to see what would happen when Mentos interacted with Diet Coke, as many are aware, the mentos react with the carbon dioxide and create pressure that makes the soda spray out of the bottle. 

Wells explained that Diet Coke has a more volatile reaction with Mentos than with regular Coke or soda because of the aspartame in diet soda whereas regular soda contains sugar which is sticky and chemically different.