Dancing sultanas science experiment : Fizzics Education


Dancing sultanas

Dancing sultanas

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • Ten sultanas or raisins.
  • 1L of Soda water
  • 1 Plastic container


Dancing sultanas science experiment - materials needed
1 Dancing sultanas science experiment - pouring soda water into a cup

Pour the soda water into the container.

2 Dancing sultanas science experiment - adding a sultana to soda water

Gently add the sultanas one at a time to the soda water.

3 Dancing sultanas science experiment - sultanas moving up and down

Watch them float to the surface and drop down over and over again.

When will this movement stop? Why?

4 Fluoroscein glowing chemical experiment with UB ligh

Why Does This Happen?

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.

Variables to test

More on variables here

  • Try dried sultanas, cranberries, blueberries, apricots and other dried fruit and compare the difference.
  • Does it matter which carbonated drink you use?
  • Can you make this observed effect work with materials other than dried fruit?


  • Marine archaeologists fill bags with gas so they can raise shipwrecks and sunken treasure!

Recording from a Facebook Live presentation on Dancing Sultanas

Want to join the fun? Join our Facebook site and keep an eye out for the next live science event where you can work with our science presenters who run the experiments with you!

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