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Endothermic reaction

You will need:

  • Foam cup
  • Thermometer
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate soda

    Container of bicarb soda, bottle of white vinegar, white foam cup, white plastic and metal thermometer on brown table


  1. Pour vinegar into the foam cup and measure its temperature with the thermometer. Record.
  2. Add the bicarbonate soda gradually to avoid overflowing foam, stirring with the thermometer.

    White foam cup with vinegar inside, white thermometer sticking out and a spoonful of bicarb soda poised over the top all on brown  background
  3. Record the lowest temperature when the reading on the thermometer stops dropping.

    Thermometer reading 14.4 deg C with bottle of white vinegar in background
White foam cup with thermometer and full of bubbles on brown background
Learn about heat of reactions with kitchen chemistry!

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Why does the temperature of the mixture change?

Did the temperature increase, decrease, or stay the same? What else did you notice about the reaction? The reaction between vinegar and bicarbonate soda can be written as:

Vinegar + Bicarbonate Soda ---> Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sodium Acetate

This is an endothermic reaction, which means the mixture requires and takes heat from its surroundings in order to react. This results in a drop in temperature of the contents of the cup.

As an extension for high school chemistry, you can use this experiment to demonstrate how to calculate the change in enthalpy for a reaction:

delta H equals c m delta T

ΔH = change in enthalpy (kJ),
c = specific heat capacity of water (4.18 kJ kg-1 °C-1),
m = mass of solution (kg),
ΔT = change in temperature of the solution (°C).

For other bicarbonate soda and vinegar experiments, check out this list in our blog!

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