Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cotton Candy Chemistry


Cotton candy, a delicious sweet treat, commonly found at a baseball game, is a very fun object to experiment with. It has many physical properties that are apparent to the naked eye, but also some that need physical testing to prove. Also, some very interesting chemical reactions occurred.

Physical Properties:

The amount that we used for each experiment was not exact, but it was about this amount each time.

- Soft
- Malleable
- Blue in color
- Sticky
- Dissolves in water

Chemical Properties:

We did multiple tests and they proved many chemical properties of cotton candy.

1. Cotton candy is NOT flammable
We held the flame to the cotton candy and although it melted, it did not produce it's own flame, demonstrating that it is not flammable.

2. Cotton candy has an odor of sugar and tastes sweet. We obviously tested this one, because of how amazing cotton candy is! Christina and I smelled it and it had a sugary smell and Christina tasted it and it was sweet like sugar.

3. When set on fire, cotton candy crystallizes. We set the cotton candy on fire and although it did not maintain its own flame, it crystallized into a thicker solid. 

4. When heated, the cotton candy first forms a liquid, shown below:

-Then it changes color into a greenish blackish hue:

-Finally, when cooled, it forms a hardened black and green crystal. This demonstrates a chemical change because of the change in color.

5. Finally, we performed an experiment with water, yeast, and cotton candy. First, we combined water and yeast in a plastic bottle:

-Then we put the cotton candy into the bottle and placed a plastic bag on the top to capture any gas that could possibly be formed:

-Next, we waited and checked it every five minutes and within 10 minutes, it formed bubbles and a new gas, what we thought was carbon dioxide. The reason this happened was because the yeast ate away the sugars and produced a gas:

-Next, to prove that this was carbon dioxide, we did yet another test. I know that some fire extinguishers are made up of liquid carbon dioxide that comes out as a gas so to prove that this was also carbon dioxide, we lit a match and stuck it in the bottle of gas:

-As you can see from the video above, this gas was indeed carbon dioxide. This whole experiment showed that yeast and water combined with the sugars of cotton candy to create a whole new gas, making it a chemical change. 

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