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Fizzles, Explosions, and Eruptions: Simple Science Experiments Gone Mad

Mad Science Experiment

Fizzy, bubbly potions are easy to create.
Fizzy, bubbly potions are easy to create.

Erupting volcanoes and bubbling test tubes are fun to watch but they are even more fun to make.  Creating strange mad scientist concoctions is simpler than you may think.  Most of the materials needed are simple household ingredients found in most kitchens.  When the ingredients are combined, they react in spectacular ways.  Read below to find out how to make Mentos geysers, homemade volcanoes, and bubbling, fizzing, and foggy mad science experiments.

Mentos Explosion

Mentos candy added to 2-liter bottles creates a big geyser effect.
Mentos candy added to 2-liter bottles creates a big geyser effect.

Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion on Mythbusters

Mentos Soda Geyser

Materials:

2-liter bottle of soda (Any will work, but diet is less sticky and causes the highest geyser)

Pack of regular Mentos candies

Piece of paper or Geyser tube (pictured at right)

Want to see a bottle of soda erupt like a geyser? This experiment is very simple to do. But it can also be very messy, so it is best to try it outside and away from anything the soda could damage. Place the 2-liter bottle on a flat surface such as a table or a driveway. Open the bottle. Follow the directions for either the paper or the geyser tube. Geyser tubes make the experiment easier, but they aren’t necessary.

Directions for using a piece of paper

Roll up the piece of paper and stick one end of it in the opening of the bottle. Get about 5-7 pieces of Mentos out of the package. Carefully drop them into the bottle using the piece of paper as a funnel. Once the candy is in the bottle, quickly step back and watch the eruption.

Alternative directions for using a geyser tube

Twist the geyser tube onto the top of the bottle. Make sure the pin with the string is in place. Place 5-7 pieces of candy in the tube. Pull the string and quickly step back. Be careful not to jerk the string or you might knock the bottle over and produce a horizontal geyser instead of a vertical one.

Expand on the experiment by testing different types of sodas to see which produce the highest geysers. Yard sticks can be used to measure how high the geyser goes.  You can also test different types of candy. Does any other candy have the same effect as Mentos?

For an explanation of why the geyser is produced, check out this article.

Reaction

Baking soda and vinegar reaction
Baking soda and vinegar reaction

Bubbling Concoction: Baking Soda and Vinegar

Materials:

Baking Soda

Vinegar

Cup or container

Spoon

Newspaper

 

To create a bubbling concoction, mix baking soda and vinegar together.  First, you will want to put newspaper underneath the area where you will do the experiment.  Then put 2-3 spoonfuls of baking soda into your container.  To make the experiment look more like something from a spooky laboratory, use a test tube or beaker as your container.  A measuring cup will also give it a mad scientist feel. 

Slowly pour a few ounces of vinegar over the baking soda.  The baking soda and vinegar will begin to reaction and cause froth that will start pouring over the side of the container.  When the reaction starts to slow, use a spoon to mix the baking soda into the vinegar.  A few more spoonfuls of baking soda and a couple more ounces of vinegar can be added to keep the reaction bubbling.           

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Homemade Volcano

Materials:

Clay or plaster to shape the volcano

(Mixture of 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of water, and 4 tablespoons of oil can be substituted instead of clay)

Brown paint (Optional)

Plastic cup or empty drink bottle

Deep baking pan

Baking soda

Vinegar

Water

Liquid dish soap

Red food coloring

To create a volcano, you will first need to shape the volcano. There are several methods for creating the volcano cone. You can use clay, plaster, playdough, wet sand, or even a dirt mound. You can also use a flour and water mixture to form the volcano as well.

Flour Method

Mix 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 2 cups of warm water, and about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large bowl using your hands. Knead until the mixture is smooth and has a firm, rubbery feel. In a deep baking pan, shape the mixture into a volcano cone. Put the cup or bottle into the center and form the dough around it to hide the cup. If you want to paint the volcano to make it look realistic, you will have to bake the dough. Remove the cup or bottle before baking. Bake on 300o for about 30 minutes to an hour or until the surface is hard. Remove the volcano from the oven and allow it to cool thoroughly before painting it. Replace the cup or bottle when you are ready to erupt the volcano. You do not need to bake the volcano flour mixture if you do not want to paint it.

Clay and Other Materials Method

In a deep baking pan form the clay or other material into a volcano shape. Place the cup or bottle in the center and shape the material around it to disguise the cup. Add details like trenches to make it look more realistic. Clay and plaster can be painted brown also.

The Eruption

In a small bowl, mix about ½ a cup of water, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and a few drops of food coloring. Red food coloring can be used. Yellow and orange can also be mixed with the red to give the lava a more fire-like look. Add about a spoonful of liquid dish soap to the mixture being careful not to stir it to much and create bubbles. The dish soap makes the mixture look more like lava flowing.

Put newspaper underneath the volcano base to catch any lava that spills over the side. Pour the mixture into the cup in the top of the volcano. Now you are ready for the eruption. Slowly pour about 2 ounces of vinegar into the top of the volcano. The lava will begin to flow. Whenever the reaction slows, add a bit more vinegar into the top of the volcano. To keep the eruption going you will eventually have to add more baking soda as well .

How to Make a Volcano

Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Mixing lemon juice with baking soda causes fizz.
Mixing lemon juice with baking soda causes fizz.

Fizzles: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Materials:

Baking soda

Lemon juice (concentrate)

Container

Spoon

Newspaper

To make fizz, mix baking soda with lemon juice. Spread newspaper under the container to soak up any mess. Put a few spoonfuls of baking soda into a container. Mix in a few ounces of water. Add about a spoonful of lemon juice to make a fizzy brew. You can also add vinegar for an even bigger chemical reaction.

For a fizzy lemon flavored drink, leave out the vinegar and mix in some sugar.

To keep the reaction happening, keep adding more lemon juice and mixing in a spoonful of baking soda at a time.

Foggy: Dry Ice

Add a spooky fogging effect to your mad science experiments by adding a piece of dry ice. Along with the bubbling and fizz, a creep fog will roll over the edge of the test tube.

For more information about dry ice, check out these hubs:

Comments 27 comments

Kammi hogan 5 years ago

Hi I'm 10. Can u do baking soda reacting to soda please? It's for my science fair project


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Kammi - Baking soda doesn't react with soda. Try using baking soda and lemon juice or baking soda and vinegar. Or mix all three.


brooke 5 years ago

can you try using flour or simple stuff that is not messy?


chona 5 years ago

im ganna try that


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

Brooke - Baking soda doesn't react with flour. If you want to try it without a mess, use a big bowl. Pour tiny amounts into the bowl. Then it won't fizz over.


brooke 5 years ago

thank you for the feedback cocopreme ill try that


tatiyana 5 years ago

GREAT VOLCANO THING by da way IMCOMING BACK TO THIS SITE


Bubbling Concoction: Baking Soda and Vinegar 5 years ago

I really like this one, and it's gonna be a good science fair project, it seems very cool and i can't wait too start on it Thank you very much, and i am compilmenting this work, Have a nice day


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

I'm glad you found this helpful. Good luck on your science fair project.


softball101 5 years ago

ca you guys please do a geyser made out of clay? for my science fair project.


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away Author

softball101 - If you want a geyser made out of clay instead of a volcano, you can use the Mentos and soda geyser. Just follow the directions in the volcano section for building the base. Make the base so that it will fit over a two liter bottle. Then drop Mentos into the two liter when you are ready for the explosion. Change out the two liter when you want another explosion. Hope that helps.


bob(not real name) 4 years ago

is there any other potion expiraments?


J.fletcher 4 years ago

is there anything that will make an explosion, and r there any more things like mentos and coke


cc 4 years ago

It was so helpful


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

cc - Glad it helped.


Flaming Penguin 4 years ago

Is their a cool experiment i can use for my science fair project, the examples in this articles are nice but i want to include something with fire! any ideas?


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 4 years ago from Far, far away Author

Flaming Penguin - There is a link to a fire experiment above the comments. It is a pretty simple experiment, but looks really cool.


SOCCERSTAR101 4 years ago

hi my brother and I really want to a a really BIG exploding experament. we dont want those dumb kiddy kind I mean we want the explosive stuff......... please reply.....


Arial6 4 years ago

Cool ideas


alex 4 years ago

thanks this is the best experiment site in the whole google thanks a bunch dude


nfrhdfjhbrn 4 years ago

that's cool im goimg to do that


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

Jeanne Drotsky - I don't know of anything same to use, especially with kids that would be able to do that. You can combine things that will start to bubble and expand like baking soda and vinegar. But anything that would cause an actual explosion wouldn't be safe to pop in someone's face. You could try using a confetti popper or something along those lines for a fun "explosion." If you add enough of the ingredients, a baking soda volcano will spill over onto people. The Mentos geyser is also a pretty sudden "explosion," but again, it isn't safe to use in someone's face.


Mia 3 years ago

I have this science project and wanted to do it on geysers.I was thinking of making a clay model but my clay doesn't dry fast enough.If i make is explode,will it make the clay even more squishier?


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

Mia - If the clay isn't completely dry, the liquid for the geyser might make it squishier or even cause it to loose its shape. It would be best if you could wait for the clay to dry or use something else for the mold.


STEVEN 3 years ago

IS IT POSSIBLE TO DO ANY OTHER CANDY OTHER THAN MENTOS WITH A 2 LITER SODA


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 3 years ago from Far, far away Author

Steven - Some other candies will work, but none work as well as regular Mentos. It is the combination of ingredients and the fact that regular Mentos have tiny pits on them that cause the big reaction. The best other candy to try is probably Lifesavers.


Mia 3 years ago

Thanks for the advice

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