So here is a fun experiment that you boys will think is super cool. The perfect activity to do right before bath time. Let your boys make an Ivory Soap Cloud. An easy experiment that will leave your boys with a puffy cloud of soap to take to the bath. And we all know how little boys need baths!
To make a soap cloud, you will need a bar of Ivory Soap and a paper plate.
Place the unwrapped bar of Ivory Soap onto the paper plate and place it into the microwave. At medium heat, microwave the soap bar for about 90 seconds. You will see the bar start to expand and create a puffy soap cloud. You can continue o microwave until the bar stops or slows down it expansion.
Be careful taking the soap cloud out of the microwave, it will be hot for a minute or so. You can then let your boys handle it. The microwaving doesn’t change the composition of the soap, so your boys can take their soap clouds into the bath. Fun.
Why Does Ivory Soap Puff Up in the Microwave?
The answer is very similar to what happens when popcorn pops. The air bubbles in the soap contain water. Water is also caught up in the matrix of the soap itself. The expanding effect is caused as the water is heated by the microwave. The water vaporizes, forming bubbles, and then heat causes trapped air to expand.
This effect is actually a demonstration of Charles’ Law. Charles’ Law states that as the temperature of a gas increases, so does its volume. When the soap is heated, the molecules of air in the soap move quickly, causing them to move far away from each other. This causes the soap to puff up and expand to an enormous size. Other brands of soap without whipped air tend to heat up and melt in the microwave.