Have I mentioned I love the internet? Well, I do and one of the reasons is because I come across fun ideas often that we try here at my home. The other day on Pinterest I found a great pin an ivory soap experiment – the original post is fabulous from Our Best Bites and shares the experiment plus a fun craft project with it as well and is worth a read. Last night after dinner I had to try this with Hubby and Taylor – here are the results.
We started with just a plain bar of Ivory soap. I placed it on a paper towel and put it in the microwave.
Within 15-20 seconds things started happening! The soap started billowing up, when I opened the microwave up it deflated quickly at this stage. I closed the door and turned it back on.
This is what it looked like after 2 minutes in the microwave. A big giant puffy cloud – very cool!
Even after all that time we still had part of the original bar visible. The way it happens reminded me a lot of those little “snake” black pellet things on 4th of July where you light them and they turn into ash.
You can see that inside the puffiness was hollow in a big part of it and you can see the crumbles of the soap. Be careful when you first take it out because it is still a bit warm, especially the inner parts of it. Once it cools you can take it apart, crumble it back up, and just have fun examining it.
The soap is still usable actually if you want to add a little water to the flakes and mold it back up. Hubby saved our crumbled up bar in a baggie because there is some sort of catfish bait that uses Ivory soap and he plans on reusing it for that (if you want I can ask him to make a blog post about it).
The science behind this is actually covered under Charles’ Law. This law states that as temperatures of a gas increase, so does the volume. The Ivory soap has lots of air pumped into it as it is made. Because of this, when you heat it the air in the soap starts moving around quickly and move apart causing the soap to expand like this.
This is a really fun and easy science experiment to try. Even if you do not have kids around, it is still fun! Enjoy and happy learning!
PS – The house smelled a bit like soap (not too bad) for a few hours after this. The microwave is fine and food cooked in it does not taste like soap now.
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.