Vinegar and Baking Soda

Applications of the Vinegar and Baking Soda Chemical Reaction

Get to know the basics of this fun and easy chemical reaction at home through hands-on experiments and labs!

For this lesson, we will be investigating how vinegar and baking soda react when mixed together.  Do you have any predictions?

Watch the following video to see if your predictions were correct!

What did you see happen?

When we poured the vinegar on top of the baking soda, it created bubbles.  These bubbles are made of carbon dioxide, which is a gas.  This same gas forms the bubbles in your sodas and is used by plants to make food in a process called photosynthesis.  Along with producing carbon dioxide, this reaction also forms salt, but not the kind you put on your food.  That type of salt is sodium chloride, whereas this salt is sodium acetate.

So why did this happen, you might ask?  Well, it’s because this type of reaction is an acid-base reaction, which just means that the vinegar is an acid and the baking soda is a base.  Vinegar’s scientific name is actually acetic acid, and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

In more technical terms, there are really two reactions that are happening when baking soda and vinegar mix.  In the first reaction, the bicarbonate and sodium ions that make up sodium bicarbonate react with the hydrogen ions in the vinegar, in turn forming sodium acetate and carbonic acid.  In the second reaction, a decomposition reaction, the carbonic acid is broken down into water and carbon dioxide.

Here’s the formula:

NaHCO3 + C2H4O2   ➡   CO2 + H2O + C2H3NaO2

Want to know some awesome applications for this reaction? Take a look at the videos below!

Erupting Volcano:

Rocket Launching:

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