Speedy Experiment – Lemon Volcano
I can’t say I’m a big fan of lemons. They’re just like oranges, but a more boring colour and with a horrible taste. But, like them or hate them, with a few simple ingredients, you can turn them into a lemon volcano! You don’t need time or a laboratory for this one; like the tremendous teabag rocket, the test takes less than ten minutes. Furthermore, it uses entirely household materials, so won’t harm the environment!
You will need:
- A lemon – mine was quite an old one, which was good as it stopped me from wasting food.
- A spoon
- A knife (get a grown-up’s help for this one!)
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- A spare container; the second ramekin (little dish) in my photograph has a dash of washing-up liquid under the recommendation of another experimenter; however, I found that I didn’t need this.
1) Cut the two ends off of the lemon with the knife.
2) Use the spoon to core out some of the middle.
This should make a “bowl” shape like the image above.
3) Squeeze out the lemon juice from the lemon-ends into the spare container.
4) Add some bicarbonate of soda to your lemon-bowl.
The lemon juice will react with the soda and create an eruption. If your reaction is underwhelming, add a little of your spare lemon juice…
If you like, try testing the lemon volcano method with other citrus fruit. Does it work with lime? Orange? Grapefruit?
Bicarbonate of soda contains carbon – it’s in the name (bicarbonate) . When the citric acid in lemon juice reacts with the soda, those carbon dixoide atoms gain two oxygen atom companions each, and become carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a gas, so that creates bubbles in the juice-and-soda – and because quite a lot of it is being produced, the lemon seems to erupt!