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Dancing sultanas experiment

You will need:

  • 10 Sultanas or raisins
  • 1 litre of Soda water
  • 1 Plastic container


  1. Pour the soda water into the container.
  2. Gently add the sultanas one at a time to the soda water.
  3. Watch them float to the surface and drop down over and over again.
  4. When will this movement stop? Why?
What is going on?

Soda water contains a large amount of dissolved carbon dioxide. Pouring the soda water into the container helped to release this gas in the form of bubbles. The bubbles are less dense that soda water, so they rise to the surface.

The bubbles connect themselves to the sides of the sultanas, providing a buoyant force to help to raise the sultanas to the surface. On reaching the surface the bubbles pop, thereby reducing the buoyant force on the sultanas and they fall back down again.

Marine archaeologists fill bags with gas so they can raise shipwrecks and sunken treasure!
Similar experiment: Make a simple lava lamp

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