From: DAVID Katz <DAKATZ45**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] More on Elephant's Toothpaste Experiment
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2020 18:20:56 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: BYAPR05MB6696106CCC9D801E2B0E5347C5EC0**At_Symbol_Here**

More on Elephants Toothpaste: A TALE OF 2 EXPLOSIONS,
In making a "world's record" elephant's toothpaste, the experimenter claims that he and colleagues calculated how much of each component would be needed.  To scale up any reaction from "laboratory size" to any large size requires more than just a stoichiometric Reactions  Reations do not scale up in a linear manner.  This is where a chemical engineer is needed, along with pilot plant studies.  Furthermore, these experimenters scaled up the amount of potassium iodide "catalyst" - another unknown. Scaling up does not necessarily require an equivalent quantity of catalyst.  Potassium iodide is not a true catalyst in this reaction.  In the case of the potassium iodide, oxidation of the iodide ion occurred, thus yellow stains of iodine on surrounding structures. Those stains lasted for days as the iodine sublimed into the air producing topic vapors to individuals in the area.
This is why books, YouTube videos, TV shows, and others showing "fantastic" demonstrations are dangerous to individuals with little or no knowledge of the chemistry involved.  The sources may state "Do not try this at home.", but, in my opinion, it is viewed as a challenge to uninformed individuals.
  David A. Katz             
  Chemist, Educator, Expert Demonstrator, Science Communicator, and  Consultant
  Programs and workshops for teachers, schools, museums, and the public
  5003 Canby Dr. * Wilmington, DE 19808-1102 *  USA
  voice/fax: (302) 509-3282 * email: dakatz45**At_Symbol_Here**
           Visit my web site:

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.