The Spangler Effect - The Science of Sugar Season 01 Episode 13

Uploaded by TheSpanglerEffect on 25.04.2012

STEVE SPANGLER: So today I'm on a quest to find out what
floats and what sinks.
I'm Steve Spangler.
And I'm all about making science fun.
For the last 20 years, I've been teaching ways to turn
ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning
I have an amazing team who will do whatever it takes to
affect the way people think about science.
And do that, I live by one motto.
Make it big.
Do it right.
Give it class.

So let's find out simple things that
will float and sink.
Dennis, it's time to play float or sink.
Do you want to pick something?

That's perfect.
Dust remover.
I wonder-- rocket science-- what do you think?
DENNIS: Floats.
STEVE SPANGLER: Oh, you might want to think it again.
DENNIS: Sinks.
STEVE SPANGLER: See, always trust your first thing.
See, that's why he didn't do well in school.
Float or sink?
What do you think?
MALE SPEAKER: Well, it's going to sink.
STEVE SPANGLER: OK, let's check and see.
No, you're wrong.
It floats.
You're fired.
Why don't we test this?
Your stapler, float or sink?
Definitely sink.
STEVE SPANGLER: Are you sure?
You want to change?
Here we go.
Nope, it floats.
DENNIS: No, it doesn't.
STEVE SPANGLER: Oh wait, it sinks.
All right, so it sinks.
All right, so you won that one.
Let's check and see how smart she is.
All of her pens.
Some float and some sink.
FEMALE SPEAKER: And some are ruined and some are--
FEMALE SPEAKER: Watered down.
The amazing thing is all the pens float.
But the scissors sink.
Isn't that an interesting thing to have happen?
All right.
I want you to get back to work.
Enjoy your day working at Steve Spangler Science.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I love my job.
STEVE SPANGLER:And this is great.
There you go.
FEMALE SPEAKER: You know what--
STEVE SPANGLER: There you go.
Hey, let's see how iPhone float or sink.

STEVE SPANGLER: Renee, what would float or sink?
Let's see her hand.
It sinks.
Notice how it sinks very low.
MALE SPEAKER: Get a piece of her car.
MALE SPEAKER: Pull off a piece of her car.
STEVE SPANGLER: OK, there you go.
FEMALE SPEAKER: I'm just kidding.
STEVE SPANGLER: I got to get out of here.

Oh, that's perfect!
Here, can I have that?
Thanks, Higginsworth.
This is going to be perfect.

This is perfect Diet Coke ready in our tank of floating
and sinking wonders and mysteries of the universe.
Float or sink?
Let's see.
Here we go.
It's a floater.
If you're a science person, you can't just sit there and
say, well, it just floats and I don't know why.
So I took all my lunch money, and now I'm going to test all
of these cans.
There we go.
That's a sinker.
All right.
And a floater goes over here.
Here we go.

Two sinkers.
Got it?
All right, here we go.
And here we go.
And this one is a--
look at this.
All right, here we go.
Sink and sink.
All right, so this is it.
These are the sinkers right here.
These are the floaters over here.
It's our job to figure out the difference between the sinkers
and the floaters.
I know exactly what you're thinking.
The scientific way would be to first of all look at the
volume of each can, because we'll need to see if the
amount in each can is the same.
That means we need to take a look at the amount right here.
Let's line them up.

Take a look at this.
355, 355, 355.
If you're metrically challenged, that's 12 ounces.
Stick with metrics.
Now let's take a look at the ones that floated.
There's one.
There's one.
Here's one.
And here's this guy here.
It's the same, 355.
Each one of these has the same amount of
liquid that's inside.
And we can only speculate that the volume of the can is
exactly the same, because look, they're identical all
the way across.
It must be what's inside the can that makes all the
Time to look at the label.
Let's move this out of the way and analyze cans from each of
the two groups.
Float goes over here.
The sink goes over here.
And these--
Here's something that Americans haven't read in a
long time, judging from waistline.
140 calories in this one, 0 calories in this one.
But that doesn't really mean anything until you go down a
little bit further.
The only noticeable difference, in the one that
sinks, it's 39 grams of carbohydrates.
The noticeable difference, the one that floats, 0 grams of
But what does that really mean?
Carbohydrates mean sugar, a lot of sugar.
And the average American consumes nearly 50 gallons of
this sugar-packed soda every single year.
That's a lot of sugar.
And if you think about it, there should be a weight
difference between the cans because if density equals mass
divided by volume, and the volume is the same on both of
them, it means the amount of stuff in each of those cans
must be different.
It's time to weigh it.
All right, take a look at this.
389 grams for the one that sinks.
And the diet, 370 grams.
That's nearly 20 grams.
And it's all sugar.
But what does that really look like?
A packet of sugar, that's easy enough.
How many packets of sugar are in that can of regular soda?
Well, of course, there's more than one.
How about this 1, 2.
Keep going, 3.
And I got a bunch of them.
Just stop me when we're ready.
4, 5, 6-- no, keep going--
7, 8, 9, 10-- no, keep going--
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 packets of sugar.
Nutritionists say the equivalent of sugar in that
can of soda is nearly 18 packets of sugar.
Now, let's say you go home and on your way home, you're
thirsty, so you go get one of those bladder busting cups
that's 60 ounces.
That's nearly 100 packs of sugar.
So let's say that you just wanted one of these a day.
365 days, what could that do to you?
Well, after 365 days, you've eaten the equivalent of 3,650
teaspoons of sugar.
That's 32 pounds, or 14.5 kilograms of sugar.
All this talk of sugar is making me hungry.
And who doesn't like a gummy bear?
You ever heard of a kid being all hyped up on sugar?
Well, my question is so how much energy is in just one
tiny little gummy bear?
Let's go figure it out.
Well, this is where we need safety glasses.
And we're also going to need a strong oxidizer.
This is where we're using this oxidizer here
called potassium chlorate.
And this is the part where I have to tell you don't try
this at home.
Try it at a chemistry teacher's home.
Wait until you get to college.
I don't care.
Just don't try it at home.
Potassium chlorate has oxygen molecules that we can liberate
fairly easily with some heat and an organic material.
And potassium chlorate has a fairly high melting point.
That's why we're going to need to use some fire.

You can see that it's finally melting.
And it's just about ready for some gummy bears.
So let's see how much energy we can release by simply
dropping three of the gummy bears
into our strong oxidizer.

There's a tremendous amount of energy being release in just
three gummy bears.
The strong oxidizer touches the organic,
which is the sugar.
In fact, we're just figuring out how much energy is trapped
in three gummy bears.
What remains from this smoky mess is just a small amount of
carbon that's at the bottom of the beaker.
Well, the producers at the Ellen DeGeneres Show liked
that experiment.
But they wanted to know what would happen if we took it to
an extreme level.
And I'd never seen anybody do it in a
five liter flask before.
The question was just how much smoke would it produce.
They weren't worried about that.
And trust me, there was a tremendous number of
firefighters that were on the set.
Take a look.
Have you ever heard somebody talk about a sugar high?
They say kids have a sugar high?
So I have gummy bears.
So these are little gummy bears.
And they're packed with energy.
So when you get them to a kid, of course, they're crazy.
So here's what I have here is I have this liquid.
It's not just gummy bears you feed to a kid that is crazy.
It's just candy in general.
I have a liquid here that's full of oxygen.
And it's a great oxidizer.
So what I'm going to do is take some of the gummy bears
and I'm going to drop them down inside.
And I'm going to show you how to release the energy from the
gummy bears.
ELLEN DEGENERES: What's the liquid in there?
STEVE SPANGLER: It's an oxidizer.
It's called potassium chlorate.
It's an oxidizer.
So you stand back just a little bit.
You're perfect right there.
OK, ready?
So I'm going to drop them in here like this.
So watch this.
Oh, beautiful.
Look at the energy that comes out.
Isn't that amazing?
ELLEN DEGENERES: That's amazing.
It never does that at home.
ELLEN DEGENERES: And the noise!
STEVE SPANGLER: Do you hear it howling?
So we call it screaming gummy bears.
And the fumes are only slightly toxic, which is nice.
ELLEN DEGENERES: Oh, that's nice.
So I'm glad I'm not wearing--
STEVE SPANGLER: No, it's fine.
And the nice thing about this is that it
smells like a campfire.
Well, in order to make candy, believe it or not, you need to
know something about the chemistry of sucrose.
And this is a simple sucrose molecule.
Take a look.
The black here represents carbon.
There are 12 of the carbons.
There are 22 hydrogens, which are the white ones.
And there are 11 oxygens that you see here.
And the difference between somebody who really knows how
to make candy and somebody like me who's just cooking
sugar is that the chef knows how long to cook that sugar so
that they can literally just make the water molecules start
to evaporate.
While we're not going to cook that molecule, there is a way,
using some chemistry, that we can make all those water
molecules come right off.
For this demonstration, we're going to need to have some
gloves and some powdered sugar.
Into the beaker it goes.
And that's the perfect amount.
And the reason for the safety glasses and the gloves, this
bad stuff right here, sulfuric acid.
If you read the label, you would think that
sulfuric acid is strong.
Is says 18 molar, which indicates the
strength of the acid.
However, chemically speaking, it's a fairly weak acid.
The real danger around sulfuric acid, believe it or
not, is when it gets in contact with water.
And since we know that there's water there in sugar, it
should be an easy way for us to pull it out.
So here's what happens.
We take the sulfuric acid and pour the
sulfuric acid into here.
And now we mix it around.
Watch what happens as it starts to turn black.
We mix it around like this and really get it mixed up.
It starts to become very, very, very hot as we mix it.
And now watch what happens when it takes off.

What you see coming off is all of that water vapor, some
fumes, and of course we have the black carbon remaining
from that simple sugar molecule.
Higginsworth, you're a good friend.
Thanks for letting me have your soda.
You take that and buy whatever you want.
HIGGINSWORTH: Thanks, Steve.
STEVE SPANGLER: You're a good guy.
Little does Higginsworth know that his body is going to
change with all that sugar.
It's going to transform into something
that looks like this.

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