Predict whether a bar of soap with sink or float...then microwave it! Great way to introduce the ideas of solids and gasses.
1 FRESH bar of Ivory Soap
1 Bar of Dove Soap or other brand (optional)
Clear Container filled with water
Microwave safe plate
Examine both bars of soap.
Predict whether soap will float or sink.
Place one bar of soap at a time to see what happens.
Discuss why one might float and the other sink.
Cut Ivory Soap into quarters.
Examine the pieces of soap. Do you see any air pockets or does it look solid?
Place 2 quarters on microwave safe plate.
Microwave for 60-90 seconds.
Remove from microwave. The soap will be warm, not hot.
Let cool slightly for children to touch.
Place broken pieces of soap into small dish for children to wash hands with...it will be very flaky.
TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
If you have a 1,000 watt or higher microwave, try setting it for 60 seconds first.
Be sure to use a fresh bar...one that has been stored on a shelf may not be as effective.
If you want to use the soap, save a netted bag from garlic, scallions or little boiler onions and place soap inside!
Make sure children wash hands after handling so they don't rub their eyes and get them irritated.
Do not leave soap unattended while microwaving. Extra time in the microwave should not cause any melting or damage but you should
always monitor anything you put in the microwave.
What is Happening?
Heating the Ivory soap softens it and heats the air and water trapped within the bar of soap. This causes the water to vaporize and the air to expand.
The expanding gasses push on the softened soap which causes the soap to expand. The appearance of the soap is changed however no chemical reaction is occurring.
Ivory bar soap is whipped with air in its production and floats in water. Ivory's first slogan "It Floats!" was introduced in 1891.
Other brands of soap do not have as much air in it and will not have the same result. We did not test any other brands in the microwave.
To view online for those of you unable to try this experiment: