What Is Bumping in Chemistry?

Bumping is an occurrence in chemistry where liquids boiled in a test tube superheat before undergoing a sudden release of vapor, expelling the liquid from the container. Bumping is usually not performed intentionally because of the potential loss of substances.

During bumping, the violence of the liquid releasing from the container is generated by the formation of vapor or air bubbles in the test tube, increasing the pressure inside the test tube. During experiments, losing or spilling substances can lead to inaccurate results for the scientists, so boiling chips are commonly used to prevent the liquid from boiling too violently. When working with toxic and hazardous substances, bumping is extremely dangerous to those conducting the experiment.