4
$\begingroup$

The reaction between sugar and sulfuric acid is well known to produce a solid column of rising carbon which may leave its container. A very similar rising column may also be produced from high temperature pyrolysis of certain organic substrates.

Is there a name exclusive to the type of reaction that produces a rising column?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ One of my buddies poured himself a beer. Beer going into the glass caused a frothing reaction. Has anyone heard of solid frothing? $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Mar 5 '16 at 1:54
4
$\begingroup$

In pyrotechnic chemistry, they might call it a pharoh's snake (or serpent) reaction. To a degree, (or rather 330 °C) pyrolysis of the sugar is occurring (starting at 170 °C).

In cooking, they would call it caramelization, although the term is also applicable in general chemistry. Less specifically, you can call it a "browning reaction"... note- caramelization (non-enzymatic) should not be confused with a Maillard reaction (enzymatic). More specifically, you could call it dehydration or decomposition of sugar with sulfuric acid. Somewhere in-between you might find the term carbonization.

You may also find the terms carbon soufflé and carbon foam interesting.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, that is the detailed Dad answer. Mom's more to point answer is - No. There is no specific name for such a reaction. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Aug 18 '16 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MaxW Ha, you got me! $\endgroup$ – Ben Welborn Aug 18 '16 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Plus there are also a number of names referring to the fact that it is something cylindric and it is rising. $\endgroup$ – Jan Aug 18 '16 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ While doing biochar research, sometimes this reaction happens instead of char formation. I was hoping for something more scientific sounding than a d*** mess, which is what I was calling it. This answer works. $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Aug 19 '16 at 13:45
1
$\begingroup$

Concentrated sulfuric acid dehydrates almost any hydroxyl containing organic molecule. This is the specific type of reaction that is occurring.

The reason the carbon-column forms is the intense heat that is released from the reaction. The water vaporizes and rises, carrying the carbon with it.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Dehydration does not always form a rising column (example youtube.com/watch?v=IhE6CM6Qbws.) Certain pyrolytic reactions do form a rising column. I am looking for a name describing a reaction which produces this phenomena. $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Mar 2 '16 at 22:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is a completely different type of dehydration. The dehydration reaction that I was talking about specifically involves the removal of water from an organic compound, not the driving off of water from a hydrated salt. $\endgroup$ – ringo Mar 2 '16 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a name for this specific form of dehydration? $\endgroup$ – Agriculturist Mar 2 '16 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ I believe it would be called acid catalyzed dehydration. $\endgroup$ – ringo Mar 2 '16 at 22:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about "Charring"? $\endgroup$ – curious_cat Mar 3 '16 at 5:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.