Chemical reactions happen when substances come in contact with each other, and change their molecular structure. Sometimes these reactions are dramatic, like sodium and water, and sometimes they are simple, like milk curdling from orange juice. In this experiment, you will use a liquid (vinegar) and a solid (baking soda) to create a gas (carbon dioxide).
The reaction between baking soda and acid has been known for a long time. Its most common use is in baking, where the carbon dioxide gas that is produced makes things puff and rise. The first known instance of using baking soda for this purpose was from a cookbook from 1796!
You should see the baking soda and vinegar mixture start to fizz. This is because the acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate are reacting together to produce sodium acetate, carbon dioxide gas, and water. The carbon dioxide fills up the balloon and inflates it, and the other things stay dissolved in the water.
With the help of an adult, repeat the experiment in a measuring cup without the balloon. Carefully pour the measuring cup (without spilling the liquid at the bottom out) over a lit candle and see what happens!
Be sure to clean up when you are done. The contents of the bottle can be poured down the sink, and the balloon can be thrown away. Wash anything that needs to be washed, and put things away where they belong.
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.
Physical Science (PS)1: Matter and Its Interactions