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It is very common reaction which demonstrates the dehydrating and oxidizing properties of conc. Sulfuric acid. Sugar is first dehydrated to elemental Carbon and steam, Carbon is further oxidized to Carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide also produced by reduction of SO4 2-.

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One of the most common chemistry experiments done in a classroom. I see this all the time on the web and tv, and you will see this reaching done if you take chemistry.
You are right, and it is also important to understand principle behind this reaction. BTW, I have no luck to see this experiment in my collage level....
My teacher did it when I was in high school chemistry.
BTW, I as pleased to discover that this works with "drain cleaner" sulfuric acid (not all drain cleaner is sulfuric acid, and the stuff I bought is no where near as pure as the acid used here. But it DID work...)

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