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Bubbly Blast Chemistry Fun

This article appeared in the September 5, 2014 edition of the Davis Enterprise.


By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise


Explorit’s Final Blast featuring U.C. Davis Chemistry faculty’s explosive Chemistry Show is coming this Sunday, but you don’t have to wait that long to make a little blast of your own.  Rev up your Bunsen burner with this foamy explosion you can make at home!


You will need: a 16 oz. bottle, hydrogen peroxide (available at a drug store), a packet of dry yeast, warm water, a small cup, liquid dish soap, a small funnel, measuring cups, measuring spoons and food coloring.  Hydrogen peroxide can irritate eyes, so wearing goggles is recommended.  And be prepared to get a bit messy!  You might want to try this experiment outside.


Use the funnel to carefully pour ½ cup hydrogen peroxide into the bottle and add a few drops of food coloring for fun.  Then add a tablespoon of liquid dish soap and mix it up by swirling the bottle a few times.


Set the bottle aside and add the packet of yeast (about 1 tablespoon) to 3 tablespoons of warm water in the small cup.  Let the yeast soak for about 30 seconds.


While your yeast is soaking, think about what might happen when we combine all our ingredients.  We know that liquid dish soap can get foamy and produce bubbles when you combine it with water, but what do we need the hydrogen peroxide and yeast for?


Yeast helps make bread dough rise, so that when it’s baked the bread is light and fluffy with lots of little air pockets in it.  It does that because it’s actually alive!


Yeast is a tiny living organism that gives off carbon dioxide gas.  That carbon dioxide creates the air pockets in bread and can help us make foamy bubbles for our explosion.


Hydrogen peroxide is not alive, but it also gives off gas.  You’ll notice that your peroxide is stored in a dark colored container.  Why do you think that is?


Chemists call hydrogen peroxide H2O2.  Look familiar?  It’s very similar to water—H2O.  Hydrogen peroxide just has an extra O!  H2O2 is constantly breaking down into water and oxygen; the dark bottle helps slow that process down.  But what would happen if we added the yeast to the hydrogen peroxide?


Let’s find out!  Use the funnel to pour the yeast solution into the hydrogen peroxide solution.  What’s happening?  You started out with less than a cup of liquid ingredients.  How much do you have now?


You’re probably experiencing a bottle overflowing with foamy bubbles.  The yeast acts as a catalyst with the hydrogen peroxide, speeding up its process of breaking down.  So once the yeast meets the hydrogen peroxide, it starts giving off oxygen really fast.


Meanwhile the yeast is still giving off carbon dioxide and the liquid soap is foaming.  All that gas all at once can make a big bubble explosion!


Be sure to join Explorit on Sunday, September 7 for even more amazing chemical reactions!  Tickets are available now at, search for Explorit, or by calling Explorit at 530-756-0191.



Explorit’s coming events:


  • Explorit’s Beautiful World: Science and Art exhibition is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.
  • Interested in membership?  Think your Explorit membership may have lapsed?  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to check or sign up!
  • Birthdays are back at Explorit!  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.
  • Save the date:  Sunday September 7th!!  Our exciting “Final Blast Festival and Chemistry Show” will once again wow you and your kids!  This event celebrates the end of our Summer Science Camp season and fun way to start the new school year!



Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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