Sulphuric Acid and sugar- dehydration of sugar (sucrose)
"Basically, all you do to perform this demonstration is put ordinary table sugar in a glass beaker and stir in some concentrated sulfuric acid (you can dampen the sugar with a small volume of water before adding the sulfuric acid). The sulfuric acid removes water from the sugar in a highly exothermic reaction, releasing heat, steam, and sulfur oxide fumes. Aside from the sulfurous odor, the reaction smells a lot like caramel. The white sugar turns into a black carbonized tube that pushes itself out of the beaker.
Sugar is a carbohydrate, so when you remove the water from the molecule, you’re basically left with elemental carbon. The dehydration reaction is a type of elimination reaction.
C12H22O11 (sugar) + H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) → 12 C (carbon) + 11 H2O (water) + mixture water and acid
Although the sugar is dehydrated, the water isn’t ‘lost’ in the reaction. Some of it remains as a liquid in the acid. Since the reaction is exothermic, much of the water is boiled off as steam.”
This is post number 9 in the “Acid + Things” series for today.