Gummi Bear Surprise

by wjw on May 1, 2009

Why TSA will soon be banning gummi bears from aircraft.

Ralf the Dog May 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Wow, that looks like it could be a blast!

Lance Larka May 2, 2009 at 4:38 am

Do you really want to get into the issue of items available in the post-security area of the airports (ie Duty Free) that can be used to destroy an aircraft in flight?

Dave Bishop May 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I assume that “Gummi Bears” are similar to British “Jelly Babies”?

We Brits call gelatine containing desserts and confectionery, “jelly” – and the fruit based conserves that you call “jelly” we call “jam” (tomar-toes, tomate-toes … let’s call the whole thing off!)

Anyway, I suppose that the explosive effect of gummi bears comes from the sugar that they contain. In my youth every English schoolboy knew that it was unwise to mix chlorates and sugar – that didn’t stop some of them from trying it – and some of them from losing fingers!

In the absence of powerful oxidising agents (e.g. chlorates) I would imagine that gummi bears/jelly babies are perfectly safe.

dubjay May 4, 2009 at 6:01 am

Despite having visited Britain on numerous occasions, I don’t recall ever meeting a jelly baby.

If it’s a highly-colored, fruit-flavored, gelatinous candy guaranteed to yank dental work right off your teeth, I guess it’s the same thing.

Dave Bishop May 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

Yes, Walter, I think that we’re probably talking about similar items of confectionery.

I’m assuming that it’s an aqueous solution of potassium chlorate in that test tube (the sound is not working on my computer at the moment – so I missed any commentary)? Heating the solid salt with a gummi bear would have distributed minute fragments of the tube, moving at high speed, all over the lab!
A colleague of mine once heated a mixture of perchloric acid and soap in a test tube once – the results were very loud and spectacular. It’s a very good job that the tube wasn’t sealed!

Lance Larka May 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I knew someday my Dr. Who addiction would come in handy.

Gummi bears are sweeter than Jelly Babies. The traditional GB’s are also harder and transparent. JB’s are chewier and opaque.

Plus one is from Germany, the other Britain 😉

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