Naked Eggs: Acid-Base Reactions
In this activity, students describe the effects of an acid on an eggshell.
Vinegar (acid) breaks apart the solid calcium carbonate crystals (base) in the eggshell into their calcium and carbonate parts. The calcium ions stay dissolved in the vinegar (calcium ions are atoms that are missing electrons), while the carbonate goes on to make carbon dioxide — the bubbles that you see.
The acidic vinegar leaves the membrane that lines the inside of the shell intact. Some of the vinegar permeates the membrane, which is why the egg swells (for an explanation of osmosis, please see the next activity). If you shake the egg, you can see the yolk sloshing around in the white. If the membrane tears, the contents will spill out just the same as with any raw egg, only now they have been "pickled" in the vinegar.
Students will be able to:
- Describe the effects of an acid-base reaction.
- Identify common acids found in the home.
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