Famous balloon experiement documented in a Disney movie

Blow up balloon with baking soda and vinegar

When vinegar is mixed with baking soda, a double replacement reaction takes place. The end result is carbon dioxide but behind the scenes, there is more than one reaction taking place.

  1. Put a tablespoon of backing soda on to the center of a paper towel. Fold the paper towel over the baking soda a few times. The objective is to create a “time release” mechanism for our reaction.
  2. Pour ½ cup vinegar into a plastic bag.
  3. Pour ¼ cup warm water into the back with the vinegar.
  4. Hold the baking soda filled paper towel in the mouth of the plastic bag by pinching the sides to hold it. Don’t let the paper towel touch the solution yet.
  5. Release the sides of the plastic bag so the baking soda filled paper towel drops into the solution. Quickly seal the bag and set it down.
  6. The bad will swell and pop.

Vinegar reacts with backing soda to create carbonic acid. Specifically, the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda. That is the first step of the reaction. The resulting carbonic acid is unstable and immediately it starts to fall apart and break up into carbon dioxide and water. The bubbles are carbon dioxide escaping from the solution.

Parent/Teacher/Advanced Notes

Any baked food that rises is caused by carbon dioxide gas. In the case of bread, yeast (a one-celled fungus) converts sugar to carbon dioxide which causes the bread to rise.

Baking soda neutralizes both acids and bases so it really does eliminate odor rather than just covering it up.

Experiment Supplies

Supplies: Vinegar, Baking soda, Paper towels, Balloon


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