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Magic Genie Chemistry Demonstration

How to Perform the Magic Genie Chem Demo


Drop a chemical into a flask to produce a cloud of water vapor and oxygen, resembling a magic genie emerging from its bottle. This chemistry demonstration can be used to introduce the concepts of decomposition reactions, exothermic reactions and catalysts.

Magic Genie Safety

Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles. The 30% hydrogen peroxide used in this demonstration is a strong oxidizing agent which should be handled with care. It is extremely corrosive and reactive. Sodium iodide should not be ingested. The chemical reaction evolves heat so it is important to use borosilicate glass and to take care that the mouth of the flask is directed away from people.

Magic Genie Demonstration Materials

  • 50 ml of 30% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
  • 4 g of sodium iodide NaI [may substitute manganese(IV) oxide]
  • 1-liter borosilicate (Pyrex or Kimax) volumetric flask
  • filter paper or tissue paper

Magic Genie Procedure

  1. Wrap the sodium iodide or manganese oxide in a piece of filter paper or tissue paper. Staple the paper so none of the solid can spill out.

  2. Carefully pour 50 ml of 30% hydrogen peroxide solution into the volumetric flask.

  3. Set the flask a counter and cover it with a towel to protect your hand from the heat of the reaction. When you are ready, drop the packet of solid into the flask. Be sure the flask is pointed away from yourself and students. The magic water vapor genie will appear!

  4. After the demonstration is complete, the liquid may be washed down the drain with excess water. Rinse the flask and dilute any spills with water before cleanup.

Magic Genie Reaction

Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water vapor and oxygen gas. The sodium iodide or manganese oxide catalyzes the exothermic reaction. The reaction is:

2H2O2 (aq) → 2H2O (g) + O2 (g) + heat

Reference: Stone, Charles, H. J. Chem. Ed., 1944, 21, 300.

While you have the 30% peroxide out, why not try the elephant toothpaste demonstration?

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