Mixing vinegar with baking soda is a time honored chemical tradition, powering science fair volcanoes across the nation. However, what is good can always be made great and in this experiment, Scientific AmeriKen explores how other household items mixed into this reaction change the experience. The outcomes of this experiment will greatly expand the repitoir of baking soda explosions across the globe.


Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) neutralizes acids (like vinegar) and in the process will release carbon dioxide gas. It is the hypothesis of this experiment that compounds that may neutralize acids will reduce the baking soda magic - only milk fits this description. For all other items, since there may be a dilution effect, it is the hypothesis of this experiment that other compounds will also reduce the baking soda magic.


Approximately 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda was placed into each test tube and an equal volume of experimental agent. Aproximately 5 mL of apple cider vinegar was then added. All reactions were observed using a camera and time was calculated using a stop watch while watching the videos.


Table 1. Time to max bubblage
  Control Salt Onion powder Curry powder Paprika Cinnamon Mustard powder Vanilla Extract Olive oil Milk Dish soap
Time (s) 5.8 4.1 5.5 6.0 5.6 Indef. 7.2 5.1 Indef. 5.9 70+

Additional notes: Image shows each reaction at is maximum level of bubblage. Additionally, some items were given extra mixing like cinnamon and dish soap.


A total of 10 household items were tested for its effects on baking soda. Surprisingly many items had significant effects on the output of bubbles from the baking soda reaction. Only 1 item seemed to enhance the experimental effect - salt. Future experiments could explore this effect further my increasing or decreasing the amount of salt. Most reduced the bubblage with including most of the powders - although these did induce some color changes that might be useful for volcanos. Surprisingly, milk did not affect the height of the bubblage and strangely made it so the bubbles lasted longer. Other noticable differences occured with dish soap which caused a very long delay of the reaction, but longer survival of the bubbles. Finally, olive oil seemed to completely stop the reaction and cinnamon greatlys lowed the reaction, and also seemed to prevent the formation of bubbles. All in all, these data demonstrate the baking soda - vinegar reaction is very adaptable and open to a wide range of future experiments!


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