Sugar Chemistry Experiments

01
of 07

Fun Chemistry Projects Using Sugar or Sucrose

Grow rock candy to learn about the chemical properties and crystal structure of sugar.
Grow rock candy to learn about the chemical properties and crystal structure of sugar. ann cady, Getty Images

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). Click through to see some of the things you can do with sugar...

02
of 07

Use Sugar To Make Rock Candy

Make rock candy to explore the crystal structure of sugar (and because it tastes yummy).
Make rock candy to explore the crystal structure of sugar (and because it tastes yummy). Judd Pilossof, Getty Images

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?

Try a Simple Rock Candy Recipe

03
of 07

Breaking Bad Blue Sugar Crystal Meth

Packets of Breaking Bad Blue Crystal Rock Candy
Packets of Breaking Bad Blue Crystal Rock Candy. Mike Prosser, Flickr

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.

Grow Blue Sugar Crystals - Breaking Bad Style

04
of 07

Rainbow Sugar Layers Density Column

Make the rainbow by pouring the most dense liquid on the bottom and the least dense liquid on top.
Make the rainbow by pouring the most dense liquid on the bottom and the least dense liquid on top. In this case, the solution with the most sugar goes on the bottom. Anne Helmenstine

One way to layer liquids is to pour a light liquid over one that is more dense. For example, you can simple 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.

Make Your Own Rainbow Layers Density Column

05
of 07

Use Sugar To Make Black Snakes Fireworks

Back snakes fireworks burn into a snake-like column of ash.
Back snakes fireworks burn into a snake-like column of ash. Kain Road Cul de Sac, Flickr

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 homeade black snack fireworks. These fireworks don't explode -- they puff out columns of black ash.

Make Safe Sugar Black Snakes

06
of 07

Use Sugar To Make a Homemade Smoke Bomb

You can hold a homemade smoke bomb, but it's safer to light it on a fire-safe surface.
You can hold a homemade smoke bomb, but it's safer to light it on a fire-safe surface. Leslie Kirchhoff, Getty Images

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.

Make Your Own Smoke Bombs

07
of 07

Use Sugar To Start a Fire Without Matches

Fire is the visible evidence of a combustion reaction.
Fire is the visible evidence of a combustion reaction. CSA Images/Snapstock, Getty Images

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!

Try the Instant Fire Reaction