# Why do gummy bears explode when added to hot potassium chlorate?

This link shows that a gummy bear explodes when in contact with heated potassium chlorate, $$\ce{KClO3}$$. But what in a gummy bear creates this reaction?

Also, do other foods (fruit, icing sugar...) react as violently with potassium chlorate?

• Never, never, never repeat this experiment on your own. Potassium chlorate is known to form mixture with violent and sensitive behavior with almost everything combustible and many incombustible things. – permeakra Jan 5 '15 at 15:01
• Also, be prepared to throw away the test tube afterwards. – Ben Norris Jan 7 '15 at 0:55

Potassium chlorate is a source of oxygen. After heating, it decomposes to $$\ce{O2}$$ and $$\ce{KCl}$$: $$\ce{4 KClO3 → KCl + 3 KClO4}$$ $$\ce{KClO4 → KCl + 2O2}$$
The gummy bear is mainly composed of sugar and other carbohydrates. Those carbohydrates will react with oxygen, combustion occurs. For example, glucose will react in this manner: $$\ce{6O2 + C6H12O6 -> 6CO2 + 6H2O}$$
If there is any material present which does not burn, such as $$\ce{H2O}$$, the temperature will not rise as high. For gummy bears the reaction works spectacularly because they are mainly carbohydrates (>70%).