Ok, so it’s not exactly elephant toothpaste, but rather a chemistry demonstration that produces copious amounts of steaming foam caused by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. This is also known as the “Marshmallow Experiment” in some cases. Continue reading for a video and more information.
Concentrated hydrogen peroxide is first mixed with liquid soap. Then a catalyst is added to make the hydrogen peroxide break down very quickly. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water. As a small amount of hydrogen peroxide generates a large volume of oxygen, the oxygen quickly pushes out of the container. The soapy water traps the oxygen, creating bubbles, and turns into foam. Often some food coloring is added before the catalyst, which makes the resulting column of foam look even more like toothpaste.