Concentrated sulfuric acid dehydrates common table sugar (sucrose), leaving a column of carbon
C12H22O11(s) + 11H2SO4 → 12C(s) + 11H2SO4 • H2O(l)
To Conduct Demonstration
Demo Time: ~10 minutes
Sulfuric acid is viscous and very caustic. Gloves and goggles should be worn. Unpleasant fumes are given off by this reaction, and it should be performed only in a large, well-ventilated room, with bench vents, preferably at the end of class. At the end of class, push the beaker completely onto the mat so that it closes over the beaker and seals off the fumes from escaping during transport. Carefully move the mat to a cart and then to the hood in the demo room.
Lora Ruffin and Michael Polk, Summer 2009