How to Build a Baking Soda Volcano

Think back to your fifth grade year. Your science teacher, with her wide rimmed glasses and well-used ruler, informs you of the upcoming science fair. You rush home to bring your mom up to date on the current tragedy, and ask only a simple question: “What should I do?” There’s only one plausible answer to this conundrum, and this is the construction of a baking soda volcano. Relive this time in your childhood with only thirty minutes of preparation out of your day. Begin by gathering the correct materials as listed below.

For the Volcano You Need:

+Large paper plate
+Three ounce disposable bathroom cup
+Aluminum foil
+Scotch tape

To Make An Eruption You Need:

+Two tablespoons of water
+Two tablespoons vinegar
+One tablespoon baking soda
+Baking Pan
+Red and yellow food coloring dye
+Dishwashing Detergent

Now we can begin to make the volcano.
1. Start by taping the bottom of the bathroom cup to the middle of the paper plate. This will be the foundation of the volcano.
2. Next cover the newly made foundation with aluminum foil and fold the foil under the edge of the plate.
3. Tape the foil into place and poke a hole through the foil into the center of the bathroom cup.
4. Make slits from the middle to the inside edge of the cup with scissors and tape foil inside the bathroom cup.

After completing these steps we are ready to make the volcano erupt!
1. Place your volcano on the baking pan.
2. Put the vinegar and red dye in the cup and mix them together.
3. Mix the baking soda, water, detergent, and yellow dye together in the base of the volcano until the soda dissolves.
4. Pour all of the vinegar into the baking soda mixture, and watch as your home-made volcano erupts!

Why does this take place? Its simple chemistry! Vinegar acts as the acid of the reaction since it is acetic acid dissolved in water. The baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, which is the base of the reaction. Sodium bicarbonate reacts with most acids including sodium bicarbonate. When they contact each other sodium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide are produced. The detergent then captures the carbon dioxide gas and forms many bubbles. These bubbles then foam out of the volcano. They last much longer because of the addition of the detergent.

Breaking down this reaction:

HC2H3O2 (vinegar = acetic acid) + NaHCO3 (baking soda = sodium bicarbonate) = CO2 (carbon dioxide gas) + NaC2H3O2(sodium acetate) + H2O (water)