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Elephant Toothpaste- Enhanced Reaction wanted


I'm trying to do a the Elephant Toothpaste experiment. I have 30% H2O2 and KI. I did an initial test run using the below quantities:

Reaction Bottle (20oz gatorade bottle):
1 Cup H2O2
Generous squirt of liquid dish soap
5 drops food coloring

Catalyst Bottle:
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon KI

Eye protection

While the reaction worked, it was a bit underwhelming. The reaction had the below issues:

1.  Initially the resulting bubbles were brown in color. I'm assuming it was the KI and water catalyst reacting without the benefit of the food coloring since the color changed after a few seconds (i do need to add a lot more drops of food coloring i think since the foam wasn't as dark as I'd  like). Would it be better to add coloring to the catalyst mixture or to try to quickly shake/mix the reaction bottle after the catalyst is added?

2.  I didn't get the "explosive" fountain of bubbles i was hoping for. I did get a generous amount of foam,  though it just kinda gently flowed up and out of the bottle. Do i just need to add more KI to the Catalyst bottle to speed up the reaction? Use less water in the Catalyst bottle? Or a combination of the two? How much KI should I use?

I only have a limited quantity of raw materials (2 - 500ml bottles of 30% H2O2 and 30 grams of KI) so can't do too many "trial and error" test runs. My first test used ~half a bottle of H2O2 and it took a week to ship so ordering more will be pricey.

Any insight and advice is appreciated.



Don't know why your experiment didn't work as well as you wanted it to. One possibility is that concentrated forms of hydrogen peroxide do not have a long shelf life. It's possible your supply was old before you got it, which reduces the effective concentration and the dramatic effect of the experiment.

There are ways to determine the concentration of the peroxide (iodometric titration), but you will need some basic chemistry equipment and chemicals to do it.

You should store your peroxide in the fridge until it's ready to use - it decomposes more quickly at room temperature.

The reaction worked, just didn't shoot up as fast as i hoped. It was more of an ooze out the top. It expanded out nicely, just hoping for an initial bit of air time.

Old peroxide will still work, but it won't work as fast or, as you put it, as explosively, because the concentration is not as high.

Not saying definitively that this is your problem, but if the peroxide you bought was sitting on a shelf for a year in a warehouse, it would explain what you are observing. A good chemical manufacturer wouldn't ship you old peroxide, but, well...

For that matter, how long have you had it and how did you store it?

What kind of soap did you use and how much? The soap captures the released oxygen in the reaction; not enough soap, or the wrong kind, and the effect could "look" sluggish even if it wasn't.

I bought the H2O2 from was delivered 5/4/19 so i haven't had it too long.  As for dish soap i just used a good squirt of dawn dish soap.

Would more catalyst KI speed up the reaction? 


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