What Causes Pop Rocks® to Make a Popping Sound?

Quck answer

Pop Rocks® pop because of a unique combination of carbon dioxide gas and sugar. When the candy comes into contact with moisture, such as saliva, the carbon dioxide gas is released, creating the popping sensation. The candy is made by heating a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, and flavorings until it reaches a high temperature. Then, the mixture is rapidly cooled, causing the sugar to harden and trap tiny pockets of carbon dioxide gas. When you place a Pop Rock in your mouth, the moisture causes the sugar to dissolve and release the trapped gas, resulting in the popping sound and sensation.

When Halloween comes around every year, children everywhere are focused on one thing—candy! Do you have a particular type of candy that you prefer? Perhaps you enjoy biting into a delicious peanut butter cup. Or maybe gummy bears are more to your liking. Almost everyone has a candy they consider their favorite!

Today’s Wonder of the Day is about a type of candy that many people enjoy. Which one are we referring to? Here’s a hint: it’s sweet, comes in a pouch, and makes a pop! sound when you put it in your mouth. Can you guess what it is? That’s right! We’re talking about Pop Rocks®.

Have you ever wondered what causes Pop Rocks to make a popping sound? It all comes down to how they are made. This candy consists of five main ingredients: sugar, lactose, corn syrup, water, and flavoring.

The first step in the process of making Pop Rocks is to mix all the ingredients together. Then, the mixture is heated until it begins to boil. It continues to boil until all the water evaporates. At this stage, it is also combined with pressurized carbon dioxide. Eventually, the pressure is released. This causes the hardened candy to crumble, resulting in Pop Rocks.

When you pour a pouch of Pop Rocks into your mouth, your saliva gets to work. It breaks down the candy, releasing the carbon dioxide trapped inside each small piece. That’s why they make a popping sound! Each crackle you feel and hear is a bubble of carbon dioxide escaping from the Pop Rocks as they dissolve.

Pop Rocks have always been a popular choice among children. However, over the years, some urban legends about the candy have also emerged. One of them is that eating Pop Rocks and drinking soda at the same time can cause your stomach to explode. This causes some kids to question whether the candy is safe to eat.

The answer is yes. The stomach explosion story is just a myth. If you enjoy Pop Rocks, it’s okay to eat them in moderation. There’s nothing dangerous about this candy, except for the possibility of a sugar rush!

Do you like Pop Rocks? Is there another type of candy that you prefer to find in your trick-or-treat bag? We all have our own preferences, but the fizzing and popping nature of this candy makes it a favorite for many children around the world.

Give It a Try

Are you ready to continue learning? Find an adult who can assist you with the activities below!

Pop Rocks Candy and Science

Pop Rocks® candy is not only delicious, but it also offers an opportunity to explore the world of science. Try this exciting Pop Rocks experiment with the help of an adult. Observe how Pop Rocks interact with different types of soda and discuss your findings.

Did you know that you can make your own Pop Rocks at home? Make sure to seek assistance from an adult and check the ingredient list before starting. While you work, explain what you learned from today’s Wonder and discuss what causes Pop Rocks to pop.

Take a moment to think about your favorite candy. What do you enjoy about it? Write a letter or email to a friend or family member describing your favorite candy and the reasons why you like it. Share your writing with them and ask them to share their thoughts on their favorite candy.

Wonder Sources

  • https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/question114.htm (accessed 10 Oct. 2020)
  • https://www.thoughtco.com/how-do-pop-rocks-candy-work-607899 (accessed 10 Oct. 2020)
  • https://www.thekitchn.com/the-science-behind-pop-rocks-candy-224718 (accessed 10 Oct. 2020)


1. Why do Pop Rocks® pop?

Pop Rocks® pop because of a unique combination of ingredients and a special manufacturing process. These candy crystals contain a small amount of carbon dioxide gas trapped inside them at a very high pressure. When you put Pop Rocks® in your mouth and they come into contact with moisture, such as saliva, the pressure inside the candy is released, causing the popping sensation. This release of gas creates tiny explosions, resulting in the popping sound and the tingling sensation on your tongue.

2. Are Pop Rocks® dangerous to eat?

No, Pop Rocks® are not dangerous to eat. Despite the urban legend that claims combining Pop Rocks® with carbonated beverages can cause your stomach to explode, this is not true. The small amount of carbon dioxide gas in the candy is not enough to cause any harm. Pop Rocks® have been thoroughly tested and deemed safe for consumption by regulatory authorities. However, it is important to note that like any candy, they should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

3. Can you make homemade Pop Rocks®?

No, it is not possible to make homemade Pop Rocks®. The manufacturing process that creates the unique popping sensation in Pop Rocks® involves specialized equipment and techniques that are not easily replicated at home. The exact ingredients and methods used by the manufacturer are also closely guarded secrets. While it is possible to create candy that fizzes or pops at home using other ingredients, it will not be the same as the original Pop Rocks® candy.

4. How long does the popping sensation last?

The popping sensation from Pop Rocks® typically lasts for a few seconds. As soon as the candy comes into contact with moisture, the trapped carbon dioxide gas is released, causing the popping and tingling sensation on your tongue. Once the gas is fully released, the popping sensation subsides. However, the unique flavor of Pop Rocks® can continue to linger in your mouth for a little longer.

5. Can Pop Rocks® be stored for a long time?

Yes, Pop Rocks® can be stored for a long time if kept in proper conditions. It is recommended to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. When stored correctly, Pop Rocks® can remain fresh and maintain their popping ability for a long period of time, allowing you to enjoy their unique sensation whenever you like.

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