Explosive Cream Container

If you thought vinegar and bicarb were only good for making messy, oozy volcanoes, think again! Turn an empty cream container into an exciting, explosive rocket with this classic acid/base reaction.

Suitable for ages 13 +, best used as a demonstration because of the speed and danger of the projectile

You Need:

  • ¼ cup of vinegar
  • 600ml empty, clean cream container
  • 1 tablespoon of bicarb powder

What to do:

  1. Add approximately ¼ cup of vinegar (acid) to a 600ml empty, clean cream container.
  2. Then, add one heaped tablespoon of bicarb (base).
  3. Quickly push the cream lid on, and point the container away from you face, and other people and faces. You should be holding the cream container with the lid on-top directed away from faces.
  4. The lid ‘blast-off should happen pretty quickly. If it doesn’t check the gas and pressure is not escaping from the seal around the lid. To slow down the reaction, wrap the bicarb powder in a small piece of paper towel before placing in the vinegar.
  5. You may even want to decorate the cream container as a rocket.

Why is it so?

As more and more carbon dioxide is released by the acid/base reaction, pressure builds and builds until……Bam! Lift Off!
When you mix vinegar (acid) with bicarb powder (base) there are a lot of bubbles and foam filled with carbon dioxide gas released by the acid/based reaction. Initially, the reaction makes carbonic acid which is unstable.
It quickly breaks down into carbon dioxide and water. The gas then rapidly leaves the water creating foam and bubbles along the way.
When you close the cream container with the lid, carbon dioxide gas is trapped in the container.
This causes a rapid increase of pressure inside the container, and eventually the lid can no longer contain the gases – BLAST OFF! – the gas and lid explode off the container.