Science, Nature and Tech

Store Cupboard Science – Experiments at Home

While there are plenty of science kits in the shops, did you know that you can do loads of science with things that you already have in your store cupboard?  Science enthusiast Lisa White has put together a list of things that you need for a variety of basic science experiments.

 

 

store cupboard

 

 

 

You might need extra equipment but these are the basics. Having white vinegar, salt, bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid in stock will be useful too!

 

How to Make a No Heat Lava Lamp!

 

 

lava lamp

 

 

STEP ONE

Fill your bottle with about 4cm high of water.

 

STEP TWO

Using your funnel pour in 100ml of oil into the bottle.
Don’t worry about the oil and water mixing as oil is hydrophobic (it hates water) which means they won’t mix. Just leave it for a few minutes and you will soon notice the oil will sit on top of the water.

 

STEP THREE

Add 10 drops of food colouring to your bottle.
This part is fun to watch as the oil coats the food colouring as it falls which makes the droplet of food colouring fall slowly and it, when it finally pushes out of the oil coating it explodes in the water which is visually satisfying!

 

STEP FOUR

Now for the REALLY exciting part!  Add a quarter or a half of one of your fizzing tablets to the bottle. WATCH the show!

 

 

 

store cupboard science

 

 

 

Why does this happen?

When we added the fizzy tablet, it didn’t react until it reached the water because it is the chemical reaction between the tablet and the water that creates the fizz; it forms a gas called carbon dioxide.

It is these bubbles of carbon dioxide (The chemical formula for carbon dioxide is CO2) that catch some of the food coloured water and carries it back up through the oil. The reason the bubbles still go up even though they are filled with water is because the density of the carbon dioxide bubbles filled with water is less than just the water and less than the oil too so it floats right up to the top.

When these bubbles filled with gas and coloured water reach the surface of the oil they ‘pop’ releasing the gas into the air and causing the water fall back down again to the bottom! Thus giving an effect like the lava lamps we see in the shops.
Want to add to the effect? Shine a torch through the bottle, from underneath is best. Enjoy the show!

 

 

Thanks to Lisa from An Ordinary Life for the cool experiment. You can find more science, maths and art tutorials on her blog. 

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