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Baking Soda Volcano Competition

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#31808
Fun:*** (2.81)
Difficulty:** (1.66)
Submitted By:bigSWAFF_69_Aus******
Corrected By:fedex337




Today is the 7th annual Swahili Science Fair. One of the most popular events of the SSF is the Baking Soda Volcano Competition.

Every year the competition gets a huge turnout; this year isn't much different. A whopping two people signed up to put their "skillz" to the test; a 9 year old girl named Sally, and a 32 year old named Fred. Both participants received the exact same materials: vinegar, baking soda, and, of course, a pre-made clay volcano.

The competition is to see whose volcano can produce the most "lava" (in this case, the lava is the baking soda/vinegar reaction). Each contestant was given 5 minutes to plan how they will use the materials.

When it was time to do the experiment, both contestants started pouring the ingredients into their volcanoes. Within seconds, Sally's volcano began emitting tons of lava, spewing it everywhere. On the other hand, Fred's did very little.

Considering both used the exact same amounts of identical materials, and both poured in the ingredients at the same speed, why was Fred's volcano so lame?


Fred's volcano was lame because he put the vinegar in first, and then added the baking soda. Sally, on the other hand, put the baking soda in first, and poured the vinegar on top. Due to the way the two react, Sally's method makes a bigger "explosion" (and also a bigger mess).

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