Q:

What are some reactions that can be performed with household chemicals?

A:

Quick Answer

Baking soda and vinegar foam, glue and borax putty and red cabbage pH indicator are all excellent reactions to create with household chemicals. They are also safe enough for children to explore.

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Full Answer

Baking soda, a base, and vinegar, an acid, fizz on contact with one another, producing carbon dioxide and water. The addition of liquid soap to the reaction traps the gas bubbles and forms foam.

White glue and borax react to form a malleable, putty-like material. White glue contains long chains of molecules, or polymers, of polyvinyl acetate. When mixed, the borate ions from the borax begin replacing acetate groups in the glue, forming links between the polymers to create a three dimensional structure. The result is soft solid that holds its shape for a short time.

The juice of red cabbage provides an excellent pH indicator for determining the presence of acids and bases. Boiling red cabbage in water for approximately 10 minutes yields a purple juice, the exact color of which depends upon the pH of the water. Acids such as vinegar or lemon juice cause the cabbage juice to turn a reddish color. Bases such as baking soda or ammonia cause shades of blue through green to form.

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