Catalytic Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2 – Elephant’s Toothpaste Experiment

Catalytic Decomposition of H2O2 – Elephant’s Toothpaste Experiment

Catalytic Decomposition of H2O2 – Elephant’s Toothpaste Experiment

Elephant’s toothpaste is a foamy substance formed as a result of rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Elephant’s toothpaste reaction experiment is generally used for classroom demonstrations as it requires fewer ingredients and makes a “volcano of foam”.

Elephant toothpaste

Description:

H2O2 is decomposed by Iodide Ion. Iodide ion is used as a catalyst and these iodide ions come from KI (Potassium Iodide) or NaI (Sodium Iodide). This decomposition reaction liberates water, oxygen and heat.

Materials:

30% H2O2(Hydrogen Peroxide)
1 Liter Graduated cylinder
KI (Potassium Iodide) or NaI (Sodium Iodide).
Food Color for fun
Liquid Dish Detergent

Procedure:

1.  Pour 50 mL of 30% H2O2(Hydrogen Peroxide) in 1 L graduated cylinder.
2.  Then, add 3-4 drops of food color in 1 L graduated cylinder to make colored H2O2 solution.
3.  Then, start adding liquid dish detergent or soap from the side of 1 L graduated cylinder to make a small layer of liquid dish detergent or soap over colored H2O2solution.
4.  With the help of small beaker add KI or NaI in the cylinder containing H2O2 solution. As a result of reaction, oxygen gas generated and this gas creates large amount of colored foam. This foam comes out of graduated cylinder.

Discussion:

Decomposition of H2O2(Hydrogen Peroxide) yields O2 (oxygen) and H2O (water). Reaction is catalyzed by I(Iodide Ion); These Iodide Ion comes from KI or NaI

Reaction-

H2O2 (Aq) + I-1(Aq) —> H2O (liquid) + IO (Aq)
IO (Aq) + H2O2 (Aq) —> H2O (liquid) +O2 (g) + I(Aq)

Overall Reaction-

2H2O2 (Aq) —> 2H2O (liquid) +O2 (g)

Safety:

Wear proper protective equipment likes hand-gloves and safety goggles when preparing and demonstrating this experiment. Remember concentrated H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) can cause burns.

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