ECHO Science Spotlight: Learn about everyday acids and bases at home!

It’s always nice to enjoy a nice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.

However, usually we need to add sugar to our lemon juice to make it worth drinking! This is because lemons are very acidic and sour. Most liquids are either an acid or a base. The difference is their ions! Acids are composed of several hydrogen ions and bases are composed of many hydroxide ions.

Scientists use a pH scale to determine whether a liquid is more acidic or basic. The pH scale is a chemical detector for the number of hydronium and hydrogen ions in a liquid and ranges from 0-14. The lower the number, the more acidic something is and the higher the number the more basic.

We see acids all the time in real life. Acids are incredibly good at breaking things down. In fact, acid is how we break down the food we eat into nutrients! Our stomachs use hydrochloric acid to eat away at, or digest, the food that we decided to have for breakfast. Let’s see what other kinds of things acids can break down with this experiment that you can try at home!

Materials: Egg, glass of vinegar, time.

Directions: First, this experiment needs patience; it will take about 1-3 days to complete! You will need to fill a glass with vinegar and then place the egg in the glass. Then, let the egg sit for 1 to 2 days. You can check in on your egg a few times, but don’t touch it. After it’s been a couple of days, carefully remove the egg from the vinegar. The shell is completely gone and now your egg is almost like rubber!

How it works: The acid in the vinegar reacts with the shell of the egg, which is made of basic calcium carbonate. When the calcium carbonate and vinegar react, carbon dioxide is formed which is what causes all the bubbles around the egg during the experiment. Eventually the egg shell completely dissolves in the vinegar and what is left is the membrane of the egg. This membrane makes the egg appear to be rubbery and if you’re careful you can even bounce your egg.

Want More? Research it! Now that you’ve dissolved the egg shell, try putting the egg in corn syrup for another day and tell us what happens! Did the egg shrink or enlarge? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured on our Facebook page!

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More: ECHO Science Spotlight: Try this fun experiment about Capillary Action!

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