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Fill balloons with carbon dioxide

You will need:

  • bottle, spoon, funnel
  • bicarbonate soda
  • vinegar


What to do

  1. Place the funnel in the bottle and pour in 50mL of vinegar.
  2. Put the funnel into the balloon and then add a spoonful of bicarbonate soda.
  3. Carefully stretch the balloon over the top of the bottle.
  4. Whilst holding the balloon onto the opening of the bottle, raise up the balloon to allow the bicarbonate soda to fall into the vinegar in the bottle.
  5. The balloon rises as it fills with carbon dioxide gas!

    Try measuring the temperature of the liquid in the bottle before and after the experiment... it should be colder (why?).

    bicarb balloon blow up experiment
    Watching the gas make the balloon rise!

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Why Does This Happen?

Reacting vinegar and bicarbonate soda together produces carbon dioxide and water.
The reaction is as follows

Vinegar + Bicarbonate Soda ---> Carbonic Acid + Sodium Acetate

The carbonic acid is unstable though, so it breaks down into liquid water and carbon dioxide as a gas, causing the massive 'build up' of pressure you saw in the experiment.

The water is left in the vinegar solution whilst the carbon dioxide rises and fills the balloon on the bottle.
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