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MadSci Network: Edible/Inedible Experiments Archive

Baking Soda Volcano

Area of Science: Chemistry
Meant for Grade 4-6 (age 8-10).
This experiment is barely edible.
An adult should be present.

Overview:
Create quite a fizzle by mixing baking soda/sodium bicarbonate - a base with vinegar/acetic acid. Well.. it's theoretically 'edible' but I wouldn't recommend tasting it (yuck!).

Equipment:
1. Baking Soda - Make certain the box says 'soda,' and not 'powder.'
2. Vinegar
3. A container to hold your reaction. In 4th grade we made a plaster of Paris volcano with a well in the middle to hold the 'reagents.'
4. paper towels, depending on the extent of mess you plan to make.

Safety:
Though the reagents are harmless, it might be a good idea to take precautions to make sure the stuff bubbling off doesn't get in your eyes.

How to do the experiment:
1. In a container place some of the baking soda.
2. Pour in some vinegar
3. Watch what happens.

Explanation:
The above reaction represents an acid base reaction, specifically:

   baking soda  acetic acid                        acetate ion
         |         |                                   |
       NaHCO3 + CH3COOH --> CO2 + H2O + Na+(aq) + CH3COO-(aq)
       (aq = aqueous, or in solution)

to break it down further:
NaHCO3 ↔ Na+(aq) + HCO3-(aq)

CH3COOH ↔ H+(aq) + CH3COO-(aq)

H+ + HCO3- ↔ H2CO3 (carbonic acid)

H2CO3 ↔ H2O + CO2

The acetic acid neutralizes the basic sodium bicarbonate. Note that carbon dioxide is given off in the process, creating the fizzes, pops and crackles.


Experiment submitted on Tue Jan 28 03:48:13 1997 by: MadSci Admin


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