You probably know that when you mix certain chemicals together, sometimes strange and amazing things happen. One of the most popular reactions is combining Baking Soda and Vinegar to create a beautiful mountain of bubbles. But have you ever wondered if you can use that reaction to do something useful? In this activity we will explore how we can you a chemical reaction to do some work!
Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas. Carbon dioxide is a natural occurring chemical. Plants use carbon dioxide and energy from the sun to perform photosynthesis. Automobiles emit carbon dioxide as a byproduct of burning gasoline. It can be harmful when it is too abundant. Today we are going to look at one of its helpful applications.
Why did the balloon inflate? When you mix baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NAHCO3) and vinegar (Acetic Acid, CH3COOH) carbonic acid is quickly created. This is what caused the bubbles you saw. Carbonic acid (H2CO3) is very unstable and breaks down into water and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a gas and needs lots of room, so it rushes into the balloon and fills it up.
Be careful when you remove the balloon from the water bottle. You can have an adult help you. You can pour the liquid solution in the water bottle down the drain with a water rinse.
There are lots of ways to extend and repeat this reaction. You can turn it into an experiment and modify the inputs to see if you get a different outcome. Here are a couple of variables you might explore. What happens when you change...
Remember you only want to change one variable at a time so that you can observe and understand what is happening.
This experiment was selected for Science at Home because it teaches NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas, which have broad importance within or across multiple science or engineering disciplines.
Learn more about how this experiment is based in NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas.