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How To Build a Baking Soda Volcano

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A baking soda and vinegar volcano is a classic chemistry project.

A baking soda and vinegar volcano is a classic chemistry project.

Anne Helmenstine

The baking soda and vinegar volcano is the kitchen equivalent of a volcano. Obviously it's not a real volcano. It's cool all the same! The baking soda volcano is also non-toxic, which adds to its appeal.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. First make the 'cone' of the baking soda volcano. Mix 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil, and 2 cups of water. The resulting mixture should be smooth and firm (more water may be added if needed).
  2. Stand the soda bottle in the baking pan and mold the dough around it into a volcano shape. Don't cover the hole or drop dough into it.
  3. Fill the bottle most of the way full with warm water and a bit of red food color (can be done before sculpting if you don't take so long that the water gets cold).
  4. Add 6 drops of detergent to the bottle contents. The detergent helps trap the bubbles produced by the reaction so you get better lava.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the liquid.
  6. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle. Watch out - eruption time!

Tips:

  1. The cool red lava is the result of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.
  2. In this reaction, carbon dioxide gas is produced, which is also present in real volcanoes.
  3. As the carbon dioxide gas is produced, pressure builds up inside the plastic bottle, until the gas bubbles (thanks to the detergent) out of the 'volcano'.
  4. Adding a bit of food coloring will result in red-orange lava! Orange seems to work the best. Add some red, yellow, and even purple, for a bright display.
  5. If you need more detailed instructions or information about the chemical reactions involved in the volcano, I also have a step-by-step tutorial and a video tutorial.

What You Need:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • warm water
  • plastic soda bottle
  • dishwashing detergent
  • food coloring
  • vinegar
  • baking dish or other pan
  • 2 T baking soda
Related Video
Baking Soda and Vinegar Erupting Volcano

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