Turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab with a simple DIY science experiment that uses common household products! Don’t forget to use proper protective gear, like safety glasses!
- Large tub
- Food Coloring
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1-2 Tbsps liquid dish soap (Dawn works very well)
- 2-5 Empty cups
Watch Educator Alison perform the experiment on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0yx_wdA4Ky8
- Add 1/4 cup of baking soda in a cup and drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap on top of the baking soda and give it a gentle shake. Place this cup in the center of your large tub.
- Fill other cups with desired amounts of vinegar leaving room for food coloring and mixing. Remember, the more vinegar you use the more bubbles you will be able to make.
- Add food coloring to each cup of vinegar and gently mix. The more food coloring you use, the more vibrant your suds will be.
- Slowly pour each cup of vinegar and food coloring into the cup with the baking soda and soap. TIP: Hold the cup about 10-12 inches above the baking soda and soap cup to help the reagents mix.
Vinegar is the household term for acetic acid. It is a chemical used in a great variety of applications. Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is another chemical commonly used for its properties as a base. When the two are mixed you have an acid-base reaction! This chemical reaction results in three new substances, water, carbon dioxide, and sodium acetate. The dish soap captures the carbon dioxide produced during the reaction and forms a fabulous fountain of foam!
Here’s a great project that combines kitchen chemistry with art! Make your own play dough using items you already have in the pantry, then use your imagination to create a play dough masterpiece.
Are you a visual learner? Watch the process on our YouTube channel.
- 1 cup of flour
- ¼ cup of salt
- ¾ cup of boiling water
- 3 tbs of lemon juice
- 1 tbs of cooking oil
- Food coloring, essential oil (optional)
- Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
- Remove 3 tbsp from your ¾ cup water and discard.
- Add oil, lemon juice, and optional food coloring and/or essential oil to water.
- Pour liquid into flour and salt mixture.
- Stir continuously until dough forms.
Note: when you’re done playing, store your play dough in an airtight container.
Chemiluminescence Demo Video
Read on to learn about what’s happening in the video above:
Our scientist pours two solutions, labeled Solution A and Solution B, into two separate beakers (these solutions are respectively a Luminol mixture and Hydrogen Peroxide). [NOTE: Luminol is a “versatile” chemical that happens to be very good at demonstrating the turning of chemical potential energy into radiant, or light, energy.] He empties the two beakers into the tube apparatus, turns the lights off, then the magic happens as the solutions combine to make a glowing liquid! THIS is chemical potential energy turned radiant energy.
Some glowing “stuff” gets its light by way of a reaction called chemiluminescence. Chemiluminescent reactions are chemical reactions that yield light without producing much heat, which we think is pretty amazing. What else undergoes chemiluminescent reactions? To list a couple of common occurrences: fireflies and lightsticks.
Firefly. Photo courtesy of nativeplantwildlifegarden.com
Why are we particularly excited about glowing stuff? Because Pajama Jam is almost upon us (tomorrow night), and there’s going to be a ton of glowing stuff there – glow-in-the-dark bowling, glow-in-the-dark ring toss, glow-in-the-dark bead necklaces, and more! AND now you know why these things can glow without burning us – they are undergoing chemical reactions which yield light with the production of very little heat…unlike, say, the light produced by a conventional lightbulb.
Tickets for Pajama Jam are available online here. We hope to see you there!