Exploding Sandwich Bags Experiment | Fizzics Education


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Exploding sandwich bags experiment

Exploding sandwich bags experiment

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You Will Need:

  • Resealable sandwich bags. (you can compare cheap and expensive bags as another experiment)
  • Vinegar
  • Bicarbonate soda
  • Tissue paper
  • A cup
  • Spoon and plate
  • An outdoor area
  • Optional: measuring cylinder.


Exploding sandwich bag science experiment - materials needed
1 Exploding sandwich bag science experiment - adding tissue with bicarb into the sandwich bag

“Bicarbonate soda ready to go”

Add a spoonful of bicarbonate soda into some tissue paper and set to one side. Repeat this several times, each time adding more and more bicarbonate soda.

2 Exploding sandwich bag science experiment - pouring vinegar into the sandwich bag

Fill the resealable plastic bag with 100mL of vinegar.

3 Exploding sandwich bag science experiment - sealed bag and reaction starting

Add the tissue paper with the least amount of bicarbonate soda into the resealable bag and seal the opening quickly to stop the produced carbon dioxide from escaping. You’ll see that the bag slightly inflates but doesn’t pop.

4 Exploding sandwich bag science experiment - sandwich bag about to pop

“Exploding sandwich bag about to pop.”

Repeat steps 1 to 3, each time adding the tissue paper the larger amount of bicarbonate soda until you get the bag to fill up with so much gas that the bag seal pops!

5 Student spinning a plate on a stick
6 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

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7 A man pointing at bubbling dry ice beaker and measuring cylinder with coloured liquids inside

Want to dive into acid-base chemistry?

Get the 30-minute video + PDF + curriculum links for your class here!

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Why Does This Happen:

  • Vinegar + Bicarbonate Soda —> Carbonic Acid + Sodium Acetate

    The carbonic acid is unstable though, so it breaks down into water and carbon dioxide, causing the pressure to increase in the sandwich bag until it pops.

The tissue paper was used to slow down the experiment by reducing the contact of the vinegar with bicarbonate soda, at least enough so that you can seal the sandwich bag.

Variables to test

The idea of this experiment is not only to investigate chemical reactions but also to look at controlling variables and trialling small changes to see if there is a result.

More on variables here

  • Change the amount of vinegar that you use.
  • Change the amount of bicarbonate soda that you use.
  • What happens if the vinegar is warm vs. cold?
  • Add the bicarbonate soda without the tissue vs. with the tissue paper.

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

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