Baking Soda Rocket 🚀



Baking soda ( Sodium bicarbonate) projects are always a timeless experiment that bring joy and excitement to the lab. I can recall my first experience demonstrated in an old film canister, where the pressure would blow the lid off!

The idea for the rocket is the same. As the pressure is retained while the gas is building, the rocket launches of in an explosive "THUMP!".

What's Needed

BK-SODA-Rocket Kit
Baking Soda (Sodium bicarbonate)
Vinegar 

Safety

During this project we will be working with contents under pressure. The BK-SODA-Rocket becomes a projectile without warning - caution is advised. Never stand overtop of rocket. If rocket fails to launch, lift by the lunch pad pointing rocket away from self and bystanders and disengage by aiding launch or controlled seperation of rocket and launchpad. Recommended for outdoor user only.

Getting Started

Step One

Remove any brim from your BK-SODA-ROCKET giving it a light sanding in preparation for handling and painting.

Step Two

It's time to get creative! We are going to paint the exterior of our rocket to make it launch worthy. It's important to note we are only applying paint to the outside of the rocket as painting inside may changed the tollerance needed to retain and release the pressure for launching. 

This is also the case for the launch pad. We don't want to paint the shaft, only the bottom base.

Hatter Tip: You can add a clear coat such as polyurethane to better protect your rockets paint job.

Step Three

Once paint has dried, we can install the o-rings. The tight tolerances and o-rings provide a superior seal to retain the pressure.

Step five

We are now prepped to launch! 

Scoop some baking soda into the launch pad shaft until it is roughly half full. Next, pour vinegar into the rocket top. 

When ready, tilt launch pad slightly forward and angle the rocket onto the shaft - reducing the possibility of spilling. Shake vigorously, set down and step back.

Mission control, we have lift off!

The mixture ratio of baking soda to vinegar is part of your "rocket science". What ratio do you find works best?

What is happening?

As with all baking soda experiments the hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium bicarbonate ions in the baking soda creating a chemical reaction. As this reaction happens, two new chemicals are created and decompose creating a gas: carbon dioxide. 

As the reaction and decomposition happens creating gas, the rocket chamber fills until it has no where else to go - eventually blasting the rocket upward.

Troubleshooting

If your rocket failed to launch, there could be a couple variables causing mission failure.

  • Is your mixture adaqute? Experiment while recording your results
  • Is the rocket sealing on the launch shaft? Is there visible leaks? Change o-rings if needed
  • Is the tollerance too tight? Try lubricating the launch shaft o-rings with a light soap mixture

Challenges

After our own experience, we noticed that the vinegar doesn't always make its way to the base of the the baking soda. We have a few ideas in mind to share, but can you design a better deliver system? 

Additional resources



 
Baking Soda Rocket 🚀 Baking Soda Rocket 🚀 Reviewed by Jim.dev on December 13, 2020 Rating: 5

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