Extreme Science: Microwave Madness - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Extreme Science: Microwave Madness

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Microwave Madness

What you will need:

  1. Permission from your Mom to use the microwave oven for this experiment, as well as your Mom’s help.
  2. Bar of Ivory ® soap
  3. Paper plate
  4. Sharp knife
  5. Adult supervision

Procedure:

1) Have you Mom or Dad carefully cut the Ivory soap into about eight pieces and spread them out over the paper plate.

2) Place the paper plate in the microwave and turn it on high for approximately two minutes.

3) Watch and be amazed as the Ivory soap puffs up and swells as it cooks.

4) Carefully remove the paper plate form the microwave. Remember that the soap may be really hot when it first comes out.

What is going on?

Ivory soap is the only soap that will rise and “fluff up” in the microwave like this due to the air that is infused in it during the manufacturing process. Most other soaps would end up melting when they are heated up but since Ivory doesn’t. Moisture is also trapped inside of the soap and when it is heated, the water molecules will vaporize. Between this and the air molecules heating up and expanding, the soap tends to get all fluffy when heated in the microwave.

This experiment is actually a demonstration of Charles’ Law which states that as the temperature of a gas increases, so does its volume. By heating up the soap in the microwave, the air molecules are also heated up causing them to speed up, taking up more space. Since the soap itself is also getting heated up, it becomes more pliable and expands as the (heated) air volume increases.

Don’t throw this fluffy concoction away! This soap is still just as good and could be fun to put in your guest bathroom!

Try this:

What happens when you put a marshmallow in the microwave! Remember, always be safe and be careful because whatever you put in the microwave will be hot when it comes out whether it looks like it or not! Ask your Mom for different ideas. Remember, sometimes it may not be wise to ask Dad what you should try next.

Radical Rick
Extreme Science
www.ExtremeScienceFun.com

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