You’ve probably heard of Pop Rocks, a candy that fizzes and “pops” in your mouth! I was eating them the other day, and mine were popping and crackling like crazy! As I am always on the lookout for new chemistry blog topics, I thought, “What better way to start the week than with a candy themed topic!”
As it is candy, the first ingredient is sugar. Next is lactose, followed by artificial flavoring, but most candy have that. What is different about Pop Rocks is that it is processed with carbon dioxide. Anyway, the important part is that they are heated to melt the mixture, and are then exposed to high-pressure carbon dioxide. This dissolves the sugar. Next, the pressure is turned off and the mixture cools. As the sugar solidifies, carbon dioxide tries to escape, but can’t. The escaping carbon dioxide splits up the mixture into tiny rocks, or balls. When you eat the Pop Rocks, carbon dioxide is still trapped inside. When your saliva comes into contact with the sugar, it weakens the “cage” surrounding the carbon dioxide. It can break free, and causes small popping noises while it fizzles.
Despite the noise and odd, tingly sensation, pop rocks are as harmful as any other candy: they can give you cavities. Other than that, they are completely harmless, so feel free to enjoy!
So Ta Ta for now and hope to see your chemical reaction soon!