We were recently approached by global TV production company Endemol via our website to supply Hydrogen Peroxide, Potassium Iodide and Distilled Water which were used in Celebrity Big Brother 2014.
The chemicals we supplied were used in a task given to the housemates to make an explosive medieval magic potion. The experiment is more commonly known as elephant toothpaste because it generates a foamy substance so named because it looks similar to the toothpaste you might imagine an elephant using.
The experiment produces an exciting, exothermic reaction whereby large amounts of thick, steaming foam are produced. If placed in a graduated cylinder, the toothpaste shoots out of the top as it expands just like it did in the Big Brother house.
How to make elephant toothpaste
Before supplying the chemicals to Endemol, we tested the experiment in our laboratory to ensure they got the best results and came up with this method:
- Don some safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from the chemicals- this part is really important!
- You might also want to protect the surrounding area with some sheeting as elephant toothpaste might stain your floor
- Add 400g Potassium Iodide to 400ml of warm water
- Take 100ml of the resulting solution and pour into a graduated cylinder flask
- Add a few drops of washing up liquid or other soap solution
- Add some food colouring – any colour you like!
- Set the flask down and add 200ml of Peroxide then stand well back and watch the reaction
- Hydrogen peroxide is corrosive and harmful so care should be taken when handling it. Make sure you wear safety gloves and goggles to protect yourself during the experiment.
- The reaction is instant and quite vigorous so you need to stand well back.
- The reaction is exothermic meaning it generates heat so we recommend using a glass flask as plastic could melt under the heat.
Images courtesy of Channel 5