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Scientist Rick Crosslin demonstrates elephant toothpaste experiment

The latest experiment from Rick Crosslin, MSD Wayne Township Scientist in Residence, appears to be toothpaste fit for an elephant, but in reality, it’s a giant foaming reaction using chemical elements.

With just a few ingredients you can make something that looks like foamy toothpaste being squeezed from a tube, but so big that it looks sized for an elephant!

Each tiny foam bubble is filled with oxygen. The yeast acted as a catalyst; a catalyst is used to speed up a reaction. 

The elephant toothpaste demo is one of the most popular chemistry demonstrations, in which a steaming tube of foam keeps erupting from its container, resembling a smooshed tube of elephant-sized toothpaste. The classic demo uses 30% hydrogen peroxide, which is not safe for kids, but there is a safe version of this demonstration that is still very cool.

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