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The Fascinating Balloon Inflator

Activity Overview

Why blow up a balloon manually when you can allow chemistry to do it for you? Scientists of all ages with enjoy amazing their friends and family as they perform this simple science experiment which uses vinegar and baking soda to inflate a balloon. This fun, family experiment demonstrates the chemical reaction between and acid and a base and shows the power of carbon dioxide gas as it is formed and needs a lot of room to spread out.

Materials Needed

  • 1L plastic soda or water bottle
  • funnel ( if you don't have one handy, you can make one from a piece of paper)
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • baking soda
  • balloon

How to Do It

  1. Do a preliminary stretch of the balloon by pulling it back and forth in your hands.
  2. Using the funnel, carefully pour enough baking soda into the balloon to fill the balloon up half way.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the soda bottle.
  4. Carefully stretch the mouth of the balloon over the mouth of the soda bottle, using care not to let any of the baking soda escape the balloon and fall into the bottle.
  5. When the balloon is secure, life the balloon up and allow the baking soda to fall down into the bottle of vinegar allowing the two ingredients to mix.

Scientific explanation

The combination of vinegar and baking soda forms a gas called carbon dioxide that expands to fill the bottle. When the bottle is full, it forces the gas out of the bottle and into the balloon, thereby inflating the balloon right before your eyes.

Another fun experiment that your kids will enjoy as they learn about science!

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