Bicarb Science Experiments

If you want to build a canister rocket, click here. If you want to build a bicarbonate volcano click here. 

Plan

Where will you source your materials?

Where will you perform your experiments?

Who needs to help you with your experiment?

How will your record your experiment?

Do

What variables can you adjust to change the experiment? (eg. changing the amount of vinegar and bicarb might change how high or low the rocket flies or adjusting the width of the mouth of the volcano might change how the volcano erupts)

Can you copy the experiment or is it different every time?

Review

What did you find interesting about the experiment?

Show your record of the experiment to your unit.

WHAT'S HAPPENING?

In this activity, mixing the vinegar and sodium bicarbonate starts a chemical reaction which produces carbon dioxide gas. The gas expands quickly and puts pressure on the lid of the container in the video. The pressure is so strong that eventually the pressure of the gas pushes the lid off the container and causes the volcano to spill over the edge.

The chemical reaction between sodium bicarbonate and vinegar is an example of an acid-carbonate reaction. The acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the sodium bicarbonate to produce sodium acetate (a type of salt) and carbonic acid. The carbonic acid is unstable and continues to break down to form carbon dioxide gas and water.

As the reaction progresses, more carbon dioxide gas is released. The film canister has a fixed volume so pressure builds until the lid isn’t strong enough to hold the gas inside the canister. When the canister bursts open, the gas is pushing in all directions, up and down and to the sides. The lid is pushed down onto the ground and the canister is pushed up by the gas, making it fly into the air!

Source: Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre

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