How to See the Gas Contained in Pop Rocks

26 June

We were at Pizza Hut when my eldest started staring at the bubbles in my cup.  I tried to explain to her that pop has bubbles because it has a gas (carbon dioxide) bubbled into it. I don't think she really understood, so it gave me an idea.

What else is made with carbon dioxide? Why Pop Rocks of course!


What You Need to See the Gas In Pop Rocks


  • Pop Rocks
  • Water
  • Balloons
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

Conducting the Pop Rocks Experiment


We had some Pop Rocks at home. I couldn't remember if the girls had tried them, but they would now!


All the popping brought some funny faces and giggles; while great, I wasn't sure they understood still.


So, I had them put some in a dish of water to see what would happen.  

Finally, they could see that as the Pop Rocks dissolved in the water gas was released in the form of bubbles. They could also hear the crackling of the gas breaking out of the candy.


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How Much Gas is Really in Pop Rocks

Remember when people told you if you drank pop with Pop Rocks your stomach would explode? Well, we decided to see what would happen if you really did combine pop and Pop Rocks!

My hope was combining soda with Pop Rocks to blow up a balloon would also prove to the girls the gas really was there.

We knew baking soda and vinegar combined could blow up a balloon extremely well, so we used it as a control.


Experiment to See if Pop Rocks and Pop can Blow Up a Balloon



  1. Put baking soda in one balloon and Pop Rocks in another. I didn't measure, but I tried to keep amounts similar.
  2. Add vinegar to one bottle and pop tp another (we used Pepsi). Again, I didn't use exact amounts, but tried to keep the liquids similar.
  3. Put each balloon on top of their respective bottle.
  4. Each girl chose a balloon and when we were ready (AKA when I had the camera set), I had them hold the balloons straight up to dump the contents into the bottle.



Both balloons inflated, but you can see the Pop Rocks balloon didn't get nearly as big as the baking soda balloon!


                                         

Conclusions of the Pop Rocks Experiment


We learned a couple things from experimenting with Pop Rocks. 

  1. Pop Rocks do contain gas. We felt it on our tongues and saw it bubble out in the water.
  2. Although Pop Rocks and Pop both contain carbon dioxide bubbles they still can't compete with the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar for the amount of gas produced. 
  3. The small amount of gas contained in Pop Rocks and pop are not enough to make your stomach explode! At least not as long as you consume normal quantities of each.



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