Acid-Base Reactions with Carbon Dioxide

In this Activity, students investigate two acid-base reactions. In the first reaction, an aqueous solution of powdered laundry detergent is neutralized with the acid formed by the dissolution of exhaled carbon dioxide. This uses the spice turmeric as an indicator. In the second reaction, vinegar and baking soda produce carbon dioxide gas. Powdered laundry detergent is added to the reaction mixture to obtain a longer-lasting, thick foam. Questions for the students connect the two reactions in terms of how carbon dioxide plays a role in both reactions. This Activity can be used when acid-base reactions are introduced in the curriculum or when carbon dioxide is discussed. The reactions could also be used as demonstrations or guided hands-on activities for younger children.


Carvalho, A. P.; Mendonça, Â. F. S. S.; Piedade, M. F. M.; 2002, 79, 1464A.

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