Carbon Snake

Introduction: Carbon Snake

Glass Beaker (tall form any size should work just add reactants accordingly)

Sucrose to fill Beaker about 2/3 full

conc. (18 M) Sulfuric Acid (if you do not own the high of a mole of Sulfiric acid we will show you how to increase this)

Glass Stirring Rod

Large Crystallization Dish for overflow

Benchcote or Large Tray for under Crystallizing Dish


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Step 1: Concentrating Your Sulfuric Acid (optional)

Prior to boiling:
Pour the dilute acid to be concentrated into an appropriate boiling container, and begin to heat the liquid by gradually increasing the temperature setting. WARNING: It is possible for the liquid to become ‘super-heated’ as the liquid’s temperature rises beyond its boiling point. The super-heated state can be easily disturbed and the liquid can suddenly begin to boil vigorously and can potentially boil over or splatter out of the container.
When the acid begins to boil, water (steam) will be the most predominant vapor evolved from the solution. As the water leaves, the Sulfuric acid is left behind in a smaller and more concentrated solution.

As the acid becomes more concentrated, its boiling point will rise. Pure Sulfuric acid will boil at a temperature of 337 ºC (610 K, 639 ºF), whereas the more dilute the solution is, the closer its boiling point will be to that of water (100 ºC)

Step 2: Adding the Sugar

Add the Sugar to the beaker (2/3) full. 

Step 3: Adding Sulfiric Acid to the Sugar

Add conc Sulfuric acid to beaker until it just covers the sugar and mix with the stirring rod.
Additonal info: You may need to add a little more sulfuric acid.

Step 4: When It Starts Heating Up!

When you feel the beaker heating up, stop stirring and put the beaker down in the crystallization dish.

Step 5: Not Going Right Away?

The reaction can take 5 to 8 minutes to start to fully react. So do not worry if it does not start right away!

Step 6: RISE!

it should rise up and look like a snake! COOL!

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    4 Discussions


    6 years ago

    Add potassium chlorate to sugar dry. Spread out on a fireproof plate. Drip concentrated sulfuric acid on it. Step back. It will self ignite. The gasses given off are oxygen and burnt Carmel. But, you also get the pile of carbon ash too.


    6 years ago

    I think this is cool! :P