Kids love the idea magic potions. Who hasn’t dreamed of mixing a little this and a little that to get an unexpected reaction?
Simple chemical reaction experiments are kind of like magic potions. Sometimes everyday kitchen ingredients, when mixed together, can do amazing things. These kinds of experiments are great ways to introduce kids to chemistry.
You probably have all the ingredients for this magic potion in your kitchen right now. Grab the kids and tell them to prepare to be amazed.
Penny Chemistry Experiment
- 2 pennies (the dirtier the better)
- paper towel
Step 1: Note the color of the pennies.
Step 2: Place the pennies in a bowl and shake a little salt onto them.
Step 3: Cover the pennies and salt with vinegar.
Step 4: Leave the pennies in the bowl for a 4-5 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the pennies from the bowl and note the color of the pennies.
Step 6: Rinse of the pennies under water.
Step 7: Place the pennies in a windowsill to dry.
Step 8: Note of the color of the pennies after a couple hours.
The acetic acid of the vinegar reacts with the salt, or sodium chloride, to produce sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride is a strong acid and when combined sodium acetate they rapidly clean the surface of the penny. Since pennies are made of mostly copper, the cleaning process reveals the shiny copper color.
Rinsing stopped the chemical reaction that cleaned the pennies. Eventually, the copper will react with the oxygen in the air and the rinsed penny will dull. This will take a long duration of time.
However, the salt and vinegar left on the unrinsed penny causes a different reaction between the copper and the oxygen in the air. As a result, copper oxide was formed and the penny turned a blue-green color in just a couple hours.
Try this experiment at home with your kids. Vary the amounts of salt and vinegar and test the reaction time.