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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Chemistry of inflating a balloon - Science Experiment



Blowing the balloon requires strength of the lungs. If I say that's not required, that too for smaller kids, what would you say? Without a huff and without a puff, we can blow the balloon, Aahah! Read ahead to find out all about it and the fun involved!
I had a Science Birthday Party for my son's 12th bday. Had a number of Science experiments planned for the boys. Though I was apprehensive, it turned out to be great fun for the boys and joy for me. After all, their happiness is what we want from a party arranged for them, isn't it? And education sneaking into the fun is double happiness. ;-)

Here we go, lets inflate balloons while chatting, singing and jumping around for the hands and lips are free.

Ingredients:

  1. Balloons
  2. Vinegar
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Bottles
  5. funnel (optional)
  6. tablespoon and teaspoon for measuring and pouring

Method: 

Grab a balloon, give it a nice stretch and then fix a funnel carefully in its mouth. Then add two or three teaspoons of baking soda into the balloon.  Shake it gently so that the baking soda rests at the bottom of the balloon. Keep aside. 

Pour three to four tablespoons of vinegar into the clear bottle.  Then carefully put the balloon over the mouth of the bottle, making sure not to let the baking soda fall inside.

When ready, lift up the balloon and let the baking soda fall into the bottle. Observe what happens. The vinegar and baking soda mix forming a fuming gas which raises up in the bottle. The balloon inflates. WOW! Absolutely no blowing!



Chemistry behind this:

The vinegar and baking soda create a chemical reaction. Vinegar is actually Acetic Acid CH3COOH.
Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate NaHCO3. So when an acid and base come together, they react. Here, vinegar and baking soda react and we get Carbon Dioxide, a gas and water as byproducts. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) being a gas, raises up to escape from the bottle. As the mouth of the bottle is sealed with the balloon, the gas enter the balloon inflating it.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate: each molecule of baking soda contains a sodium atom, a hydrogen atom, an oxygen atom, and a carbon dioxide molecule.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, each molecule of which contains a hydrogen atom, and an acetate ion.
When combined, the hydrogen atom in the acetic acid meets up with the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the baking soda to form a molecule of water, while the acetate ion grabs onto the sodium atom and forms a salt, sodium acetate. The carbon dioxide molecule, free of its other chemical bonds, can now escape, and bubbles forth as a gas.1

The boys made variations in the amount of vinegar, baking soda and size of the bottles. The balloon when not tightly wrapped around the bottle, inflates and just takes off. poof! The experiment was altogether a fun experience for the boys.

I was wondering if this would be less interesting for sixth graders, as I've been doing vinegar and baking soda experiments at home since when my elder son was 6 yrs old. Making volcanoes many times - tall and short, colored and uncolored! But it turned out to be interesting for the sixth graders too.

Another experiment done during the party and which also served as a centerpiece (unplanned) on the dining table while the boys were having their pizza, Dancing Raisins.

Have a post listing all the experiments and fun, in draft. Will post it later after posting all the experiments.

Life is Science and Science is Fun! :-)

1. Ref: http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=4147

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