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Exothermic Reactions

Chemical reactions that release energy as a product.

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Sugar Rush!

How much energy is in a single gummy bear?

Credit: DOH4
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30884177@N08/6100505933/sizes/m/in/photolist-ai5FSM-ai5FWr-a8s7cE-8gnso4-egxkXN-bwQDxW-ff2KSJ-8W3eVQ-agBj3W-cxrPF1-e1SayB-991WDP-91Qauq-afhPYo-9bv94j-8V2sgb-be6Y72-9YJnWK-cpgyEG-7H8U4P-9AU97P-aKs9mX-bUGyXn-bmk9ew-ai6m3t-9f7aUo/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0


We experience exothermic reactions regularly.  Some are more visual than others, like flames or fireworks, while others are hidden away in our own bodies, namely respiration.  When we eat food, we are rewarded with energy that we can use immediately or save for later.  Gummy bears are a sweat snack and just one serving of gummy bears (one serving is about 11 gummy bears) can power you 5 minutes of jump roping or 15 minutes running up stairs.  Imagine if all of this energy was released in an explosion right before your eyes!  Well, your imagination is about to become reality because gummy bear explosions have become very popular on the internet.   By adding sodium chlorate to gummy bears and other sugary treats, we are able to see a flare of energy.

Creative Applications

  1. Is making ice cubes exothermic or endothermic?
  2. How is our body able to extract foods’ exothermic energy and put it to use?
  3. When a chemical bond is broken, is energy released or stored?





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