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Magic balloon eggs – egg in vinegar/acetic acid experiment.

Two brown chicken eggs

Eggs that bounce. Say what?

Acetic acid

If you’re the type of person who finds yourself shouting, “I want patience…. and I want it NOW,” then this experiment might not be for you. It’ll take ten days to see the results of our experiment, but when all is said and done, we’ll have one of the weirdest eggs you’ve ever seen.

For many years, magicians have created eggs like the one we’re about to make. As early as 1900, magicians created these “magic eggs” and used them as props in various magic tricks. Imagine if you could remove the “hardness” from an eggshell giving you an egg that could be folded like a napkin or blown up like a balloon. The egg could be folded to make it disappear. It could be blown with air to make it reappear. Our magic egg will even bounce! It’s due to a chemical reaction with an acid that you have readily available in your home.

The egg in vinegar experiment

  1. To begin, we must clear out the insides of the egg, so all we’re left with is an empty shell. This part of the experiment is probably the hardest and may take some practice before you get it right. Poke a small hole in both ends of the egg. Use a needle to poke the holes.
  2. Wiggle the needle around in the hole to mix up the insides of the egg. This will make it easier to blow out the yolk.
  3. Blow into one of the holes, and the insides of the egg will slowly pour out of the other end. Don’t blow too hard, or the insides will explode out the other side. [Note to teacher: Now that word it out, expect half the class to explode the first few eggs]
  4. Place the egg in a bowl full of vinegar. The egg will float, so you need to place something on top of it to ensure it’s completely submerged in the vinegar. You may be able to tip the egg on one end to let some of the vinegar seep in and weigh the egg down.
  5. Leave the egg submerged in the vinegar for 7-10 days. Notice the bubbles that form on the outside of the egg. These bubbles are carbon dioxide gas from the vinegar dissolving the calcium carbonate in the shell.
  6. Once the bubbles are gone (approximately ten days later), carefully remove the egg and rinse it with water. Notice that with the calcium carbonate dissolved, the egg is transparent and flexible. You can now fold the egg or blow air into it to puff it up to its original shape.
  7. Sprinkle talcum powder or baby powder onto the egg to help keep it fresh (and add white color to the egg).

Vinegar contains acetic acid. The acetic acid in the vinegar dissolves the calcium carbonate in the eggshell. Without the calcium carbonate, the egg loses its hardness and becomes flexible. The bubbles you saw on the egg were carbon dioxide gas that resulted from this process.

Experiment supplies for the egg in vinegar experiment

Supplies: Vinegar, Eggs

Image Credits

In-Article Image Credits

Acetic acid via Wikimedia Commons with usage type - GNU Free
Two brown chicken eggs via Wikimedia Commons by Justus Blumer with usage type - Creative Commons License. August 15, 2011

Featured Image Credit

Two brown chicken eggs via Wikimedia Commons by Justus Blumer with usage type - Creative Commons License. August 15, 2011


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