MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: Why does Ivory soap expand in a microwave oven?

Date: Fri Aug 29 14:00:07 1997
Posted by Scott Shriver
Grade level: 7-9
School: Talawanda Middle School
City: Oxford State/Province: OH
Country: USA
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 872881207.Ch
Message:
The September 1995 SCIENCE SCOPE magazine described a demonstration 
experiment in which one regular-sized bar of Ivory Soap was placed in 
a microwave oven for two minutes.  The soap forms a rigid, irregular, 
"cumulus" extrusion approximately 3X in size.  Ivory provides a more 
dramatic effect compared to other brands.

Proctor and Gamble advertises Ivory Soap to be 99-44/100% pure.  It 
contains vegetable oils, animal fats, fragrance and, of course, the 
whipped air that provides its famous buoyancy ("The soap that 
floats!").


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