• Question: How do you make elephant toothpaste

    Asked by Aislinn to Hugh, James, Katherine, Matt, Shannon on 17 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Katherine Benson

      Katherine Benson answered on 17 Nov 2017:

      Elephant toothpaste is made in an experiment where you add hydrogen peroxide to dish soap and then add potassium iodide. The hydrogen peroxide is broken down into oxygen and water and this reaction is catalyzed (sped up) by the potassium iodide. The Elephant’s toothpaste effect happens because as the hydrogen peroxide breaks down really quickly (since the potassium iodide is speeding up the reaction), the oxygen and water make a foam with the dish soap. This is happening so quickly in the container that the foam flies out the top of the container.