Chromatography with Coloured Sweets - Letterbox Lab
Chromatography with Coloured Sweets

With the school holidays well underway, we’re thinking you need some help coming up with a few fun experiments you can do with your children at home. Chromatography with coloured sweets can show your children how sweets get their colour with this fun and simple science technique called chromatography, separating the different components in a mixture.

What you will need:

  • A packet of coloured sweets (these can be M&M’s, Skittles or Jelly Beans. (Note that the dark coloured sweets like the purple skittles, black jelly beans, or brown M&M’s have the most results, so choose sweet packets that have a dark option.
  • Six small plates (one for each colour sweet)
  • Six basket coffee filters (you could also use kitchen roll)
  • A small bowl of warm water

What to do:

Place a coffee filter (or kitchen roll) on each plate.
Dip your chosen sweet into the bowl of warm water and place it on to the coffee filter. Do this for each colour on separate coffee filters.

It’s as easy as that. Now you and your child can both watch and wait to see what colours emerge from the sweets.

You may see more than one colour bleeding out onto the filter, as it can take more than one dye to get the desired colour for the sweet.

Now here’s the science…

Chromatography is a method to separate the different components of a mixture.

The filter / kitchen roll acts as a solid support to separate the different dye molecules used to colour your chosen sweets.

Depending on the different attraction rates and how well a substance dissolves in the warm water determines how much separation you will see with the dyes.

More colour fun…

With our monthly letterbox lab boxes, your children will learn many fun science experiments. Our marvellous mixtures box contains different experiments they can learn about colour, like making a liquid rainbow, making rainbow spinners and other Chromatography experiments and more!

Take a look at our subscription options here

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