Heating Ivory Soap in the Microwave

Let's have some hands on science fun with a microwave oven and bar of Ivory soap (only works
with Ivory). When we heat the soap in the microwave it will expand to more than seven times its
normal size and almost fill the entire microwave. Always a crowd pleaser.  Mom and Dad, don't
worry there will be no mess and it won't ruin the microwave!

Ivory soap will expand due to tiny
air pockets. Heating in a microwave vaporizes water
molecules trapped inside. It turns the soap into a foam like substance creating an example of
physical change and demonstrating Charles' Law.

Warnings:  Adult Supervision Recommended

-         Never take off and leave the microwave unattended during the experiment.
-         Heating soap in the microwave will not damage the microwave but may    
cause the oven to smell like soap for an hour or so.
-         Never put metal in a microwave.

- Bar of Ivory Soap
- Microwave
- Paper or ceramic plate

Watch Video: Microwave Ivroy Soap Experiment

Process Microwave Ivory Soap Experiment

1. Unwrap the bar of Ivory soap.
2. Put it onto the paper or ceramic plate.
3. Place the plate into the microwave oven.
4. Set the oven to 2 minutes.
5. Press start and watch the soap expand.
6. Once it appears to no longer be expanding open the microwave and take the plate out.
7. Let the soap cool for about 2 minutes
8. Lift it up. How does it feel?

The Science Behind Microwave Ivory Soap Experiment:

When Ivory soap is heated in a microwave it gets hot and causes the soap to get soft. The
microwaves beaming in the oven excite the water and air molecules inside the soap cause
them to move in opposite directions from each other and vaporize. The vaporization of these
molecules causes the tiny air pockets or bubbles trapped inside the soap to rapidly expand.
Since the soap has been heated and is in a soft state, the expanding air and water molecules
can easily push it out into a new foam like substance. Although the soap looks vastly different
from when we started, the substance of it remains the same. There was no chemical reaction
during the experiment only a physical one. What did occur was a demonstration of Charles' Law
- the volume of gas increases with temperature. Now get some friends and try the microwave
Ivory Soap Experiment!
Microwave Ivory Soap www.weirdsciencekids.com
Microwave Ivory Soap www.weirdsciencekids.com
Microwave Ivory Soap www.weirdsciencekids.com
Microwave Ivory Soap www.weirdsciencekids.com
Microwave Ivory Soap www.weirdsciencekids.com
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