Chemistry

How to Build a Baking Soda Volcano



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Building and constructing a volcano that erupts for a project, presentation, or just mere pleasure is a lot more simple than it may sound. There are only a few steps involved. If you are unaware, the mixture of baking soda and vinegar causes an "eruption" or just a simple clash in chemicals that produces a foamy lava like appearance. The first step to building a volcano is estimating the size you want it to be. This will determine how big of a foundation you will need and give you an overall idea of the amount of materials you will need to have.

The second step is your foundation aka the volcano itself. Some good foundations for this would be cardboard, paper mache, plastic, or aluminum. One thing to keep in mind is once you pour the vinegar into the baking soda, it will come up the top of your volcano and it will be wet. Therefore the foundation and volcano itself needs to be something that will not be ruined if it gets wet several times depending on how many times you want to conduct this experiment.

Next, you have to actually build the volcano. Leave an open space in the back so you can move the baking soda in and out easily. Make sure to leave a big enough hole at the top for the eruption, but not so big that it doesn't look like a volcano. You may also want to place a piece of cardboard on the inside somewhere toward the top near the hole to be sure the eruption reaches the hole and makes less of a mess.

Once your volcano is built and you feel comfortable with its appearance, you are almost finished! The fourth step is to get a plastic cup and fill it with enough baking soda to react with the vinegar. I would say some where around two cups would be plenty! No more than that. Once you have this, place it inside your volcano on the cardboard "shelf" as it may be called.

Next, gather all your materials and prepare in front of your class, teacher, friends, or even just yourself. Make sure you have paper towels near by to clean up. Place your volcano on a large sheet of cardboard, or some other sturdy surface for durability. Once everything is ready and in it's place, locate and wear goggles and your lab apron. Pour a cup of vinegar into a glass. Slowly pour the vinegar into the opening of the volcano. The eruption/chemical reaction will begin to occur. If the reaction rises up through the top of your volcano, you have succeeded!

Congratulations! Make sure you record your data if you plan on conducting this experiment more that once. Lastly, always clean up any mess that may be left behind!

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