Screaming jelly babies

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Growling gummy bears

"Screaming jelly babies"[1][2] (en-UK), also known as "Growling gummy bears"[3][4] (en-US/en-CA), is a classroom chemistry demonstration, variants of which are practised in schools around the world. It is often used at open evenings to demonstrate the more light-hearted side of secondary school science.[1] The experiment shows the amount of energy there is in a piece of confectionery; jelly babies[2] or gummy bears[5][6] are often used for theatrics. Potassium chlorate, a strong oxidising agent, rapidly oxidises the sugar in the candy,[2] causing it to burst into flames, producing a "screaming" sound as rapidly expanding gases are emitted from the test tube. The aroma of candy floss (cotton candy) is also given off.

Other carbohydrate or hydrocarbon containing substances can also be dropped into test tubes of molten chlorate, with similar results.


  1. ^ a b "YouTube videos to ignite science". BBC news. 1 December 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Screaming Jelly Baby Experiment - Student Science". University Radio Nottingham. 2012-01-16. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  3. ^ "Growling Gummy Bear" (PDF). CHEMISTRY 11 DEMONSTRATIONS. British Columbia Science Teachers' Association. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Growling Gummy Bears". BYU Lecture Prep. Brigham Young University. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  5. ^ Lubbock Christian University: Can a Gummy Bear Scream?
  6. ^ "5.5 Oxidation of Sugar or Gummi Bear with Potassium Chlorate". Chemical Reactions II: Oxidation/Reduction. University of Massachusetts Lecture Demonstrations. Retrieved 22 March 2014.

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