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Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

Questions from Kids: Why does baking soda react with vinegar?

chemistry experiments today…

Kentucky Chemistry

There’s something awesome about answering questions for kids.  Redditor HippySkippy noted that her 7-year-old son had recently developed a love for the wondrous world of chemistry.  However, like many books written for children, the books she’d been able to find often said to mix baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and vinegar (dilute acetic acid) to build an “at-home volcano.”  Many of us know that an acid (like vinegar) and a base (like baking soda) react.  But how many folks know why?  So, Little Joey (that’s your name now), allow me to explain.

What is an acid?  What is a base?

To determine if something is an acid or a base, the quickest method is to dissolve a little in water and then to test the pH with indicator.

Universal indicator is a mixture of substances which change color when exposed to acids or bases; tradition makes it such that acids are red…

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