Just how strong is “chemical compression”?
How to make plastic bottle contract
Crushing a plastic bottle using the power of chemistry!
- Caution! Observe safety rules when working with these substances.
- Wear protective gloves, eyewear, and a mask.
- plastic bottle;
- wooden stick;
- 4 tbsp baking soda;
- 100 mL 6% vinegar solution;
- drain cleaner containing sodium hydroxide.
Pour 4 tbsp baking soda into a plastic bottle and add 100 mL 6% vinegar solution. This initiates a tumultuous reaction; wait for it to die down. Check that the bottle is filled with carbon dioxide by inserting a lit splint; the splint should go out. Pour some sodium hydroxide-based drain cleaner into the bottle. Close the bottle and shake. The mixture inside heats up noticeably, and the bottle collapses!
The baking soda and 6% vinegar solution react to form sodium acetate, water, and carbon dioxide.
NaHCO₃ + CH₃COOH → CH₃COONa + H₂O + CO₂↑
Wait until the reaction is over and check that the bottle is full of carbon dioxide using a lit splint. The splint should be extinguished at the bottle’s neck. Сarbon dioxide doesn't support combustion, so if the splint is extinguished, this indicates that a significant portion of the air in the bottle has been replaced by carbon dioxide.
2NaOH + CO₂ → Na₂CO₃ + H₂O
Drain cleaner usually contains sodium hydroxide which, when introduced to the bottle, interacts with carbon dioxide and releases a significant amount of heat, forming sodium bicarbonate. It may even melt a little! The amount of gas in the bottle decreases, and the bottle is crushed under external pressure.
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