Learning Objective: To demonstrate how heating up a solid material can cause a physical change in its appearance.
Next time you go to the grocery store consider buying a fresh bar of Ivory Soap. When you get home, put it on a paper plate and microwave it on high for about a minute and just observe. What you once thought was a nice bar of soap will transform into foam! Don’t worry it should not mess up your microwave and the smell dissipates fairly rapidly.
Ivory soap is pretty unique – it is one of very few soaps that actually floats on water! This is the result of it being filled with tiny air pockets. As you heat Ivory soap in the microwave its water molecules gain energy and change state into steam. The steam produced pushes the soap through the air pockets forming a wonderful foam.
Science is awesome.