Fun Chemistry Projects Using Sugar or Sucrose

Spoon with nine lumps of sugar equivalent to the content in sugar of a refreshing drink
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 Sugar is one of the chemicals you have in your home in relatively pure form. Ordinary white sugar is purified sucrose. You can use sugar as a material for chemistry experiments. The projects range from safe-enough-to-eat (because sugar is edible) to adult-supervision-only (because sugar is combustible). Here are some of the things you can do with sugar.

Rock candy
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One tasty way to learn about the properties of sugar is to crystallize it. Colored and flavored sugar crystals are called rock candy. Consider how the covalent bonds in sucrose affect the way it dissolves in water to make the crystal solution. How does the crystal form of rock candy differ from how sugar crystals look under a magnifying glass? More »

Packets of Breaking Bad Blue Crystal Rock Candy
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Fans of the tv show Breaking Bad can adapt the regular sugar crystal recipe to make chemist Walter White's classic blue crystal product. While you're working on the project you can consider the real chemistry covered in the TV series. More »

technology biotech chemical research test tube 3d
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One way to layer liquids is to pour a light liquid over one that is denser. For example, you can simply demonstrate oil is lighter than water this way (and also that oil and water are immiscible). But, you don't have to use different chemicals to layer them. You can simply make the bottom layers more concentrated than the top ones. Try it yourself using colored sugar solutions. More »

Back snakes fireworks burn into a snake-like column of ash.
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Sugar is a carbohydrate, which means it's a form of fuel in your body. It's also a fuel in chemical reactions. For example, you can use sugar to make homemade black snack fireworks. These fireworks don't explode—they puff out columns of black ash. More »

green and yellow smoke
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Chemistry is at the heart of any form of pyrotechnic. If the black snakes whetted your appetite for more fire fun, try making homemade smoke bombs. You only need two ingredients to experiment with these: sugar and potassium nitrate. More »

Combustion is a chemical reaction. While it's usually initiated by applying a heat source, such as a match, it's possible to start a fire without adding thermal energy. For example, mix sugar with potassium chlorate and see what happens if a drop of sulfuric acid is added! More »