Science experiments are super fun to conduct at home with common household items. The science concepts applied in school or in a lab are the same, and kids are astonished by simple hands-on activities that nearly any parent can accomplish. So, how about a raw egg and vinegar experiment! Like magic, the eggshell will slowly dissolve, leaving behind a bouncy egg.
What you will need:
- 1 uncooked raw egg in its shell (you may also use a hard-boiled egg, which is less messy if you accidentally break it),
- 1 cup of white distilled vinegar (acetic acid) which will be the main chemical used for the experiment,
- a clear jar or a glass.
- pour 1 cup of vinegar into a glass,
- add the egg ~ make sure that the egg is completely covered with vinegar.
After 24 hours, large bubbles should form all over the eggshell. You may notice some pieces of the shell at the top of the liquid in the jar. Remove the egg and rinse it in water.
The eggshell is soft (for now). Note, that if left for one week, the entire eggshell would be dissolved by the vinegar.
⚗️Science Mystery is Revealed: the eggshell is dissolved because vinegar is an acid and the eggshell contains calcium carbonate, which is a base. Calcium carbonate is what makes the egg hard. Vinegar is an acid known as acetic acid. When these two chemicals: calcium carbonate (the egg) and acetic acid (the vinegar) are combined, a chemical reaction occurs and carbon dioxide (a gas) is released. Bubbles are made out of this gas. Such chemical reaction keeps occurring until all of the carbon in the egg is used up: it takes about a day. After 24 hours, all the carbon from the eggshell is released. So now, when you take the egg out of the vinegar, the egg is soft because all of the carbon floated out of the egg in those little bubbles.
Did you know that if you remove the egg after sitting in vinegar for one day and then left it out on the table for another day, the shell would become hard again because the shell would take carbon from the outside air. (The calcium left in the egg shell would steal the carbon back from the carbon dioxide that is in the air we breath.)
- With a raw egg, once the shell has softened, place the egg in the water again and it will absorb and expand through the osmosis process until the shell finally bursts.
- Bones: What makes our bones hard is calcium carbonate ~ the same compound that makes the eggshells hard. So, make an experiment and take some thin chicken bones (e.g the wishing bone) and drop it in vinegar and leave for a day. After 24 hours, such bone will be soft just like the eggshell was. The bone will be bendable like a sting ~ try to tie it in a knot, I bet you will succeed! However, if you leave the knotted bone sitting out on the table, it will get hard again, just like an egg!
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