Candy Chemistry Projects

Candy chemistry projects are easy and fun. The materials are easy to find, the ingredients in candy work in several scientific demonstrations, and the scientists will enjoy eating leftovers.

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Dancing Gummy Bear

Pairs of Gummy Bears engaged in a formal ballroom dance

Glow Images / Getty Images

The sucrose or table sugar in a Gummy Bear candy reacts with potassium chlorate, causing the candy bear to "dance." This is a highly exothermic, spectacular reaction. The candy ultimately burns, in a tube filled with purple flame. The reaction fills the room with the odor of caramel.

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Candy Chromatography

An endless supply of multi colored gumballs

Alex Levine

Separate the pigments of brightly-colored candies using coffee filter paper chromatography. Compare the rate at which different colors move through paper and learn how molecule size affects mobility.

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Make Peppermint Creme Wafers

Peppermint wafers sprinkled with sugar

James Tse / Getty Images

Cooking is a practical form of chemistry. This peppermint candy recipe identifies the chemicals in the ingredients and gives measurements in much the same way you would outline a protocol for a lab experiment. It's a fun candy chemistry project, particularly around the holiday season.

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Mentos and Diet Soda Fountain

A bottle of diet soda creating a fizzy fountain due to the addition of a Mentos candy

Alohalika / Getty Images

Drop a roll of Mentos candies into a bottle of diet soda and watch foam spray out of the soda! This is a classic candy science project. It works with regular sweetened carbonated beverages, but you'll get sticky. The coating on Mentos candies and their size/shape make them work better than substitutes.

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Grow Sugar Crystals

Rock candy consists of sugar crystals, and appears as white, purple, pink, or blue depending on which food safe dyes are added

Jeff Kauck / Getty Images

The simplest form of candy is pure sugar or sucrose. You can grow rock candy yourself. Make a concentration sucrose solution, add coloring and flavoring, and you'll get sugar crystals or rock candy. If you don't add any coloring, the rock candy will be the color of the sugar you used. It's a good chemistry project for the younger crowd, but also appropriate for older explorers studying crystal structures.

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Breaking Bad "Blue Crystal"

Rock candy in the bluish hues reminiscent of "Breaking Bad"

Jonathan Kantor / Getty Images

Disclaimer: Don't make or ingest crystal meth.

However, if you're a fan of the AMC television series "Breaking Bad," you can make the stuff they used on set. It was a form of sugar crystals—easy to make and also legal. Pure sugar crystals and pure crystal meth are clear. In the show, the iconic blue street drug took its color from Walter White's one of a kind recipe.

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Make an Atom or Molecule Model

A sugar molecule modeled out of red candies

Image Source / Getty Images

Use gumdrops or other chewy candies connected with toothpicks or licorice to form models of atoms and molecules. If you are making molecules, you can color-code the atoms. No matter how much candy you use, it will still be less expensive than a molecule kit, although it won't be reusable if you eat your creations.

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Make a Candy Spark in the Dark

Mint Lifesavers candies can create dim sparks if struck with a hammer

Envision / Getty Images

 When you crush sugar crystals together, they emit triboluminescence. Lifesaver Wint-o-Green candies work especially well for making a spark in the dark, but just about any sugar-based hard candy can be used for this science trick. Try to get as much saliva out of your mouth as you can and then crunch the candies with your molars. Be sure to let your eyes adjust to the dark and then either chew-and-show for a friend or else watch yourself in a mirror.

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Grow Maple Syrup Crystals

Hot maple syrup forming crystals on chipped ice

mnfotografie / Getty Images

Rock candy isn't the only type of candy crystal you can grow. Use the natural sugars in maple syrup to grow edible crystals. These crystals are naturally flavored and colored a deep golden brown. If you dislike the bland flavor of rock candy, you may prefer maple syrup crystals.

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Explore Pop Rocks Chemistry

Pop rocks on a girl's tongue in a truly horrific display

Kristi Bradshaw / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Pop Rocks are a type of candy that cracks and pops on your tongue. The secret is in the chemical process used to make the candy. Eat Pop Rocks and learn how chemists managed to compress carbon dioxide gas inside the "rocks". Once your saliva dissolves enough sugar, the interior pressure bursts apart the remaining candy shell.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Candy Chemistry Projects." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). Candy Chemistry Projects. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Candy Chemistry Projects." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 1, 2023).