Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 1
Experimental Cuisine » Rocket Food

Rocket Food

Release the energy stored in everyday food to launch a model rocket. Food contains an amazing amount of energy. If you don't believe it, feed some candy to a kid and watch him bounce off the walls. Of course, tot-baiting is only one way to turn food energy into noise and destruction.

A king-size Snickers has 541 Calories. That's calories with a capital "C," or 1,000 lowercase calories. A small "c" calorie represents the energy required to heat one gram of water by one degree Celsius. So that Snickers could theoretically heat a gram of water 541,000 degrees or, more realistically, bring a gallon and a half of water from nearly freezing to nearly boiling.

But you can liberate the same amount of energy in much less time by mixing the Snickers with a more concentrated source of oxygen-say, the potent oxidizer potassium perchlorate. The result is basically rocket fuel.

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