Greensboro, NC -- Items you use every day can have a chemical reaction if you put them in or near another chemical.
Smith High School chemistry teacher Aabeyo Abraha is turning the sugar you used in your coffee this morning into carbon.
Disclaimer: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
"This is sugar. It has carbon, hydrogen and oxygen elements. And here we have sulfuric acid. We call it battery acid, and it's pretty strong, so we have to be careful with this one. So we're gonna mix the two together to form an element called carbon."
Abraha adds the acid to the sugar and mixes. By combining them, he's adding energy to the reaction of the sugar and acid. The color of the mixture starts to change.
"And also if you touch it, it's getting hot. In chemistry, we call it an exothermic reaction."
Abraha stops mixing, but the mixture begins to have a life of it's own! Watch the attached video. All of a sudden the mixture is up and over the beaker and it is a carbon element like a charcoal or pencil lead.
How does it work? Abraha explains, "What happened is the acid actually extract all the water out. That's an exothermic reaction. And this is actually one of the process scientists use to extract different elements."