Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chemical and Physical Properties of Cotton Candy

       Cotton candy is a sweet treat that is often enjoyed at fairs, circuses, and baseball games. When a person first looks at cotton candy, it does not come to mind that there are tons of physical and chemical properties. Although physical properties are more evident than chemical properties, there are still many chemical properties, if not more. 

This is approximately the amount of cotton candy used for each experiment performed. 
Physical Properties:
1.  Blue in color
2.  Malleable
3.  Sticky
4.  Solid state
5.  dissolves in water
We began by putting water in a bowl,
 and taking the sample size of cotton candy.
Next, we placed the cotton candy in the
bowl, and it immediately dissolved.

Chemical Properties:
1. Not flammable
We placed a piece of cotton candy on the ground, and tried lighting it on fire. We discovered that cotton candy is non-flammable because although the cotton candy did begin to melt, the flame did not stay on the cotton candy. We had to continue lighting the piece of cotton candy on fire, proving it is not flammable. 

2. Smells like sugar and tastes sweet
- Obviously, by smell, cotton candy smells sweet like sugar. We smelled the cotton candy, knowing that odor was a chemical property. It is a chemical property because it has the ability to react and change odor when two substances are mixed together.
- I tasted the cotton candy, and it had a sweet taste. Once again, from our knowledge of chemistry, we knew that sweet taste was a chemical property because it has the ability to undergo a chemical change with the silva and taste buds. 

3. Cotton candy crystalizes when it is set on fire.
Although cotton candy is not flammable, when trying to light it on fire we discovered another chemical change. When we continued holding the flame to the cotton candy, it wouldn't break down anymore. It created a solid substance that crystalized. This is due to all the sugar in the candy. 
4. When the cotton candy is heated on a stove, it produces a change in color.
First, we began by putting the
cotton candy in a pan and heating
it over a stovetop. When we did
that, it immediately started to
After letting the cotton candy cook for
about 5 minutes, it began turning a
greenish brown color. The color change
 from blue to greenish brown indicates a
chemical property.  
Once cooled, it then returns to a solid
and the final solution looks like this.
The middle is a dark brown, and
the sides are green.  
5. When combined with yeast and warm water, a new gas is produced.
         - The new gas produced it carbon dioxide. We supported this through two different experiements, both dealing with the plastic bottle, water, yeast, and cotton candy. One deals with the plastic bottle and bag as shown directly below, and the other has to do with fire.

         We began by mixing warm
           water with yeast and pouring
          it into a plastic water bottle. 
We then added in the cotton candy
and attached a plastic bag on the
top to trap any gas that may form. 
Over time, bubbles began to
form above the liquid mixture.
The plastic bag attached to
the top inflated, which was
 filled with the gas, carbon dioxide.  

As our second experiment, I researched that carbon dioxide, which is in many fire extinguishers, has the ability to put out fire. To prove that the gas was carbon dioxide, we decided to light a match and put it near the bottle as carbon dioxide is being released. If the flame went out, then we could conclude it was carbon dioxide. To perform this experiment, we quickly took off the plastic bag, lit a match, and placed it just close enough to the rim of the bottle. This allowed the carbon dioxide to reach the match and put out the flame within seconds, proving that the gas is carbon dioxide.

    - Research about carbon dioxide having the ability to put out a fire.
    - Sugar, yeast, water, and carbon dioxide experiment:


  1. Fantastic Job, Christina. You explained your conclusions very well and designed some excellent experiments!

  2. Christina, your blog is overall very good! I really enjoyed the pictures of chemical change showing the crystallizing of the cotton candy. Also, the explanation of why the gas was carbon dioxide is very helpful. In addition, in the introduction it is very nice how you started by explaining a real-life situation with cotton candy and how no one would ever think about the chemical and physical properties it has while they are too busy eating it! Overall, I think it was very creative and I really like the grocery-store item you chose.

  3. Very good job demonstrating the physical and chemical properties of cotton candy. Although I do have a concern, and this is that I am not sure if cotton candy can be considered malleable. Cotton candy is produced by fluffing liquid sugar with air, and allowing the sugar so crystalize. By doing this the "cotton" state is made. By definition malleability is defined by the ability to "hammer" or "press" it into sheets. I am not sure, but I imagine that hammering cotton candy could not produce uniform sheets. By doing this I imagine the sugar crystals breaking, creating an irreversible physical change.

  4. The experiments you designed were very creative and all of the definitions and explanations were very helpful! I liked that you had a video included in your blog! I especially liked the experiment you did with the plastic water bottle and the yeast. The picture of the crystalized cotton candy after it had been burned looked really cool. I thought it was very interesting how the cotton candy was not flammable but still crystilized.

  5. I did not see if you stated this or not but when the sugar was burnt H20 was release in the form of a gas,(Steam), and what you had left in the liquid state is carbon.

    Great job with this experiment!

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  7. i have done a project on continuous cotton candy making machine and i want same research paper for it can you help me