Fun with Eggs!

Raw eggs are known to be very fragile… but what if they can be made to bounce? The following video explores this seemingly impossible feat!

Watch raw eggs bounce!

You’ve heard of ships in bottles… but what about eggs? Watch the video below to learn more about how this is possible!

Watch eggs get sucked into bottles!

RAW EGG BOUNCE:

Materials:

  • Vinegar
  • A raw egg
  • A clear jar or container

Instructions:

Place a raw egg into a clear jar or container. Pour vinegar so it completely covers the egg (don’t worry if the egg floats to the surface– just pour enough that the egg can be completely submerged). Keep the egg in the vinegar for 24 hours. Replace the vinegar in the jar. Be sure to remove the egg from the jar using your hands, as using a utensil may cause the egg to burst. Keep the egg in the new vinegar another 24 hours. Replace the vinegar in the jar again (the last time, I promise). Wait another 24 hours. Remove the egg from the vinegar and have fun bouncing! Just be sure to bounce it in an area that you don’t mind getting messy… the eggs have a tendency to burst after too many bounces.

So… how does this experiment work??

The shell of an egg is made up of the compound calcium carbonate. When exposed to vinegar, or acetic acid, a chemical reaction occurs.

First, the carbonate in the calcium carbonate gains protons, which are subatomic particles with positive charges. This forms carbonic acid. The carbonic acid is then broken apart to create water and carbon dioxide (which explains the bubbles that form around the egg while the shell is broken down).

Second, the acetate from the acetic acid combines with the calcium to form calcium acetate.

Here is the chemical reaction occurring in this experiment:

Though the vinegar breaks down the egg’s shell, it leaves the inner membrane untouched. This causes the egg to be squishy and malleable. The inner membrane is also semi-permeable, which means that when the egg is soaked in the vinegar, some of it will enter the egg, causing it to get a little bigger. Our cells have similar membranes, which allow small hydrophobic molecules, like oxygen, to diffuse into and out of the cell as needed. Water enters and leaves the cell via a special type of diffusion called osmosis.


EGG IN A BOTTLE:

Materials:

  • A glass bottle/container
  • A peeled hard-boiled egg
  • A strip of paper
  • Matches
  • Vegetable oil (and a paper towel to apply)

Instructions:

Make sure that the peeled hard-boiled egg can rest comfortably on the rim of the glass bottle or container without falling through. Wet the paper towel with vegetable oil and apply to the neck and rim of the glass bottle or container. Light the strip of paper with a match (you might want a parent present for this part) and drop it into the bottle flame first. Place the egg on top of the bottle and observe what happens!

How does this happen?

To understand how this experiment works, we have to understand air pressure.

When gas molecules in the air get heated, they get excited and want to spread out, or expand. In the egg experiment, we heated the air in the glass bottle by lighting the piece of paper on fire and sticking it inside. When we removed the paper from the bottle, the air cools, coming back together and contracting.

However, because we used a glass bottle, which is rigid and does not allow the air to expand or contract its sides, the pressure inside the bottle can get really high and really low.

So how does this cause the egg to get sucked into the bottle? Well, when the egg is not there and the piece of paper stops burning, the air pressure inside the bottle goes from high to low. This means that the air has contracted, or packed together more closely, and there is more room in the bottle for air to enter. This also means that the air pressure on the outside of the bottle is higher than the air pressure within.

To equalize the air pressure and reach equilibrium, the air from outside the bottle needs to move inside. However, when the egg is placed on top of the bottle, it blocks the air from entering and equalizing the pressure. The air outside the bottle, determined, will then push the egg into the bottle in order to get inside the bottle.

Drawing showing air movement surrounding a bottle with a strip of paper on fire and no egg (left) and a bottle with a strip of paper no longer on fire with an egg (right).

Sources:

https://www.scienceofcooking.com/eggs/naked-egg-experiment.html

https://www.scienceworld.ca/resource/egg-bottle/#:~:text=Quickly%20place%20the%20egg%20over,egg%20to%20pop%20back%20out.

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