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Fall In Love With Science: Bottle Balloon Blow-Up

This week's Science Hack with Sam Jacques explores how a solid and liquid can make a gas.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A force other than your lungs will blow up your balloons this fall. The power of carbon dioxide gas will have everyone intrigued.

Let's get started! 

Supplies Needed:

  1. Water Bottle 
  2. Latex Balloon 
  3. Alka-Seltzer Tablets 
  4. Water 
  5. Sharpie 
Credit: 13 On Your Side

Experiment Steps: 

  1. Crush 2 to 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets and put them inside your balloon
  2. Fill the water bottle about halfway full of water 
  3. Attach the balloon to the water bottle and let the Alka-Seltzer tablets fall into the water 
  4. Watch as the balloon inflates
  5. Optional: Decorate your balloon Halloween style 

The Science:

When the Alka-Seltzer tablets are dropped in the water bottle, the solid tablet interacts with the liquid water to form a gas. This gas is known as carbon dioxide — you know, the bubbles you see in pop! The carbon dioxide gas is trapped inside the balloon and water bottle, causing the balloon to inflate! 

Here is an idea: Can you think of another chemical reaction that would form carbon dioxide and blow up the balloon in a similar way? Hint: We covered this reaction in our first experiment. 

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