Monday, August 5, 2013

A vinegar and baking soda experiment; Creating gas to blow up a balloon.

I was cleaning out a drawer today and found some old birthday balloons that made me think of this experiment, that we had yet to try. So I grabbed a water bottle, some baking soda, vinegar and a funnel, and we headed outside (where I'll always do this in case of vinegar spills and splatters - I know some people clean with it, but the smell nauseates me in large amounts). It's fun and a great learning experience, too!

* "Blowing up" in this case does not mean exploding! Too bad huh? :)*

You will need:
- balloons
- enough baking soda to halfway fill up however many balloons you want to blow up
- enough vinegar to fill your water bottle 1/3 of the way to half way up
- a funnel (If you are going to use a funnel for the vinegar as well and are using the same one for the baking soda, fill your balloons first.You don't want the funnel to have vinegar in it when you try to pour your baking soda.)

1. Fill your balloons about halfway full of baking soda. It doesn't have to be an exact measurement. Set them aside.
2. Pour your vinegar into your water bottle until the bottle is halfway full, or a little less. It doesn't have to be exact either.

3. Stretch one balloon with baking soda inside of it over the top of the bottle, just the mouth piece. Be careful not to accidentally tip any of the baking soda into the bottle until your balloon is secured or it will fizz up and out of the bottle and make a mess.
4. When you're ready, hold the balloon up so that the baking soda falls into the vinegar and watch as it causes a reaction and begins to air up the balloon!

What's happening scientifically, is that the acetic acid in the vinegar mixes with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda and forms carbonic acid. The carbonic acid is unstable and falls apart, creating carbon dioxide and water. So you actually have a double replacement reaction. The carbon dioxide escapes the solution that's left and that's why you see all those bubbles. Enjoy!

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