All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Kids > Movies & More > Experiments > Candy Experiment: Sticky Stuff
Candy Experiment: Sticky Stuff

The Science of Sticky

candy experiments: sticky stuff smallStickiness is serious business. Scientists study it, throwing around words like "viscoelasticity" and examining the super-sticky feet of little lizards called geckos. So explaining the stickiness of candy is complicated.

But let's start by explaining why sugar is sticky. Sugar molecules are made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Together, they create tiny sugar crystals, and bunches of crystals all together are what you find in your sugar bowl.

Sugar + Water = Sticky

If you add water (moisture), the sugar crystals dissolve, breaking the chemical bonds between the sugar molecules. Then the sugar sticks to whatever it touches.

Would it surprise you to know that sugar is an ingredient in some glues? Probably not, if you've every held a piece of candy in your hand or put it in your pocket.

A Word About Your Teeth...

Dentists (and parents) often tell you not to eat too much sticky stuff. For someone with braces, sticky candy is a problem because it can get stuck in all those wires and brackets. Even if you don't have braces, sticky candy can stick to your teeth and lead to cavities. If you do eat candy, be sure to brush your teeth afterward.

In this experiment, you'll play around with candy to see which is the stickiest. These factors will affect the stickiness: warmth, moisture (water), and how much oil the candy contains.

What you need:

What to do:

  1. Wet and mold each chewy candy until it is soft and easy to work with.
  2. Try to attach round candy wheels to make a candy car.
  3. The candy that best holds the wheels is the stickiest.

© Loralee Leavitt. Used with permission.
[Please note: By clicking on this link, you will be leaving this site.]

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Related Articles
K    15 Ways to Use Leftover Halloween Candy
K    Candy Experiment: Acid Test
K    Candy Experiment: Chocolate Bloom
K    Candy Experiment: Color Separation
K    Candy Experiment: Density Rainbow
K    Candy Experiment: Floating Letters
K    Candy Experiment: Lifesaver Lights
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2015 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved