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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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Jul 16, 2006

There are going to be a lot of messy kitchens, I think.
Jul 16, 2006

I only knew that because I made a volcano in fourth grade.
Jul 16, 2006

Thought it would be something like that... Time to mess up the kitchen kids!
Jul 17, 2006

Ah yes, the old BS and V mess maker...such fond memories. Good One.
Jul 17, 2006

Good to know?
Jul 19, 2006

I knew this was yours when I saw it in review. I make you the smartest dog in the world, and this is what I get?!
Jul 19, 2006

I was surprised they didn't make me change the "fred" part.

And the fact that you're lame.

Oh burn.
Jul 26, 2006

I Looooved It!!!!!!!!!
Jul 29, 2006

Very cool... I was stumped on this one! Good job!!
Jul 29, 2006

easy but REALLY well written, I loved this teaser!
Aug 18, 2006

I thought that Fred didn't shake it.
Oct 11, 2006

i wonder why the order makes a difference....
i did this at my kindergarten b-day party
Mar 28, 2007

Maybe Sally sat on her bottle of vinegar for a while and warmed it up.
May 07, 2007

Oct 11, 2006

i wonder why the order makes a difference....
i did this at my kindergarten b-day party

The order makes a difference, because the vinegar to arrive after the first drop hits and starts to react holds the reaction down, so that more and more mixture takes place before it pushes the liquid above it out of the way. Bakins soda dumped on top of the vinegar can only react with the mollecular layer s that immediatly contact each other. Think about putting powdered sugar on water - some floats before wetting takes place, but if you put powdered sugar in a bowl and pour water on top of it, the entie mass gets wet all the way through.
Jan 26, 2008

i agree. sand(baking soda) is very good for irrigation and the vinegar is flowing through the baking soda
Apr 18, 2015

That's how I clean my sink.

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