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Screaming Jelly baby - alternative to Potassium Chlorate?

Discussion in 'Science' started by choccie, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. choccie

    choccie New commenter


    Does anyone know if it is possible to use another chemical instead of Potassium Chlorate for the screaming jelly baby experiment? Is there another chemical that has a similar oxidising effect? I really want to show this to enthuse one of my low ability classes, but we dont have any Potassium Chlorate in our department.
    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  2. choccie

    choccie New commenter


    Does anyone know if it is possible to use another chemical instead of Potassium Chlorate for the screaming jelly baby experiment? Is there another chemical that has a similar oxidising effect? I really want to show this to enthuse one of my low ability classes, but we dont have any Potassium Chlorate in our department.
    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  3. TecHKnow

    TecHKnow New commenter

    No, there is no other suitable alternative. What is your worry? If you have properly risk assessed the practical and also trialed it out yourself (alongside perhaps your technician), then you should have little to worry about. CLEAPSS have a model risk assessment on their CDROM.
    Ensure the Potassium Chlorate is completely liquid before adding the Jelly baby. Do the practical in a working fume cupboard.
    If you have any problems ring CLEAPSS who will help you with your risk assessment
  4. CLEAPSS have reported that there have been problems doing this in a working fume cupboard. Fume cupboards are built for toxic gases not a sudden eruption of “smoke” and water vapour. Schools were complaining to fume cupboard manufacturers that their cupboards were not working! The sparks and spitting hot particles were affecting the windows (especially the plastic ones).
    Finally CLEAPSS reported that sparks from a Thermit reaction (yes I know, not the howling jb) had been sucked towards the paper pre-filter in a filter fume cupboard, which then caught fire. The recommendation is that the howling jb and Thermit reactions carried out on a protected bench with the pupils well away. Safety screens should be put up and windows opened. The trouble is then smoke-activated fire alarms which have been wrongly put into the laboratory; heat-activated alarms should be used.
  5. It MIGHT be possible to use other chemicals, but why bother??
    CLEAPSS already have a special RA for this demo, changing any of it would mean re-writing the RA. Using Potassium chlorate realy is no problem as long as you have practised first and been shown how to di it properly.
    TeachersTV has a good video showing all the possible pitfalls, and solutions to doing this demo.
    Order in some Potassium chlorate, even though I have known some over cautious HoDs and/or techs claim that it is too dangerous[​IMG] If that is the case, then why is it in the 21stCentury SoW?
  6. mrswallow

    mrswallow New commenter

    Any reason why sodium chlorate wouldn't work? Getting back the the OP question about what other chemicals would work. They did say the didn't have any potassium chlorate in the prep room. If all else fails, loads of people have posted it onto you-tube. Not as much fun as doing it for real though.
  7. Reason (and advice) given by CLEAPSS in SRA01.As posted earlier - Downloadable either from website or from CDROM.
    Why reinvent the wheel when Uncle Bob et al. have spent quite a bit of time on this?
  8. mrswallow

    mrswallow New commenter

    Um, I can't access CLEAPSS website properly as I am not a member. Would you be able to post a bit more information for me?
  9. All England and Wales LEAs (+ NI) and most Independent schools are members.
    Password is on the latest bulletin.
    The LEAs etc .pay for this and so the information is confidential between them and CLEAPSS.
    Scotland has a reciprocal arrangement with SSERC (?)
    As I was unaware of the reasoning until I read SRA01, I am not willing to pass the copyright information on.
  10. mrswallow

    mrswallow New commenter

    So the reason you can't tell me why not to use sodium chlorate as a replacement for potassium chlorate in the screaming jelly baby experiment is because the information on SRA01 is copyright and only available to those who pay. I'm not in a LEA or independent school in the UK so this information may just pass me by in that case.
  11. mrswallow

    mrswallow New commenter

    Sorry, it is just now I am really curious.
  12. Having just flicked through my 'Handbook of Chemistry and Physics' 50th edition (1970). and looked up the physical properties of the two, and the physical properties of Sucrose.
    Just trust us when we say it wont work.
    This is the reason LEAs pay for CLEAPSS (Gawd bless'em) to do the hard work of finding all this out.
  13. Slight contradiction to PRB
    It may work, BUT not safely.
    And if not done safely...
    CLEAPSS also do associate memberships (or something similar). The cost is well worth it. Other advisors also exist (e.g. Croner's) and you may have these. IMHO the quality ease of access and targetting of CLEAPSS means there is no choice. Idoubt others would supply such well thought out and researched advice.
  14. whitecoat

    whitecoat New commenter

    Oh, for goodness sake...............sodium chlorate has the wrong melting point.
    I did not get this information from the CLEAPSS CDROM - someone told me.
    Copyright is there to stop people reproducing great chunks of text - in this case a special risk assessment. Virtually everthing I know about science, I got from books - all copyright. Does this mean I can never speak about science? Of course not. It means I cannot reproduce the exact text from those books without permission.
    Rhysboy likes this.
  15. It is indeed to do with melting points!

    Sodium chlorate has m.p. 248 oC [decomposes above 300 oC]
    Potassium chlorate has m.p. 356 oC

    So clearly there is going to be much more energy about in the reaction with potassium chlorate.
  16. fiendishlyclever

    fiendishlyclever Occasional commenter

    You can ignite a mixture of sodium chlorate and sugar which is quite impressive (got this from an RSC book posted to my school a while back). The experiment also works well with potassium chlorate.
    I remember someone pointing out to me that the oxygenating tablets you buy in a pet shop are potassium chlorate. I wouldn't recommend trying them for an experiment but you don't want the kids doing it at home (keep an eye on those boiling tubes [​IMG])
  17. fiendishlyclever

    fiendishlyclever Occasional commenter

    Like this one here.
    Could be one for the SMT toilets......
  18. as a vso in gambia i had about 2kg of sodium chlorate and a kilo of caster sugar in the prep room. great fun, works a treat.
  19. ploughlane

    ploughlane New commenter

    I'm not sure if this has been answered but NaClO3 works just as well as KClO3. I would say it works even better. The only problem is that CLEAPSS said in a bulletin last year that NaClO3 shouldn't be used, I can't remember why.
    The first time I saw this experiment was before I was a teacher and then NaClO3 was being used.
  20. Elephants toothpaste is a fantastic demo, i cant remember exactly, but i recall that you use a spoonful (bucket chemist!) of Potassium Chlorate, a little washing up liquid and about 20cm3 of H2O2. Make sure it is in a long glass measuring cylinder, as it foams up loads and spurts out the top (like toothpaste). Watch out, it is really exothermic. As a cool extra, if you dribble red / blue / green food colouring down the insides of the cylinder before you add the peroxide, the white foam comes out looking like aquafresh!!


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