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Kids Science Experiments - Acids & Alkalis
Household Acids and Alkalis
Materials you will need:

Gather some everyday products from around your house.  Some items to consider could include some of the following:

• Toothpaste
• Milk
• Water
• Apple juice
• Orange juice
• Vinegar
• Baking soda
• Dish detergent
• Soap
• Vegetable oil
• Indigestion tablets
• Salt
• Dixie cups
• Plastic spoon (to mix solutions)
• Goggles
• Disposable gloves
• Old work shirt to protect your clothes

Before performing this experiment you may like to purchase some universal indicator papers to help test for an acid or an alkali.  

Did you know that acids and alkalis are two types or groups of chemicals that can be found in our everyday world that we live in?  

Some chemicals are very dangerous and must be handled with care. They should be labelled with hazard symbols which tell us how they can cause harm.  

Always have the help of an adult when working with chemicals of acids and alkalis. You may need to wear goggles, gloves and / or a protective overall when experimenting with acids and alkalis. Also, you may need to consider being close to running water.  

You must never taste anything that is harmful to your body.


Acids and Alkalis:

1. For this experiment you will want to test your items to see if they are an acid, an alkali or neutral.

2. All the items that you are planning to test need to be made up as a solution by adding just a bit of water and mix so that the universal indicator paper can absorb some of the solution.

3. Dip your universal indicator paper into each item you are testing. The paper will turn red if it is an acid and blue if it is an alkali. This paper has a mixture of dyes which produces a range of colors which tell us not only if a solution is an acid or alkali but also how acidic or how alkaline it is.

4. Record your findings in a table. Have a column for ‘Food’, Acid, Neutral and Alkali.   

The pH numbered scale ranges from 1 to 14.  

- Solutions that are less than 7 pH value are acidic and turn the universal indicator paper red.  

- Solutions that are above 7 pH value are alkaline and turn the universal indicator paper blue.  

- Solutions that are neutral will read as 7 on the pH numbered scale.  

Did you know?:  

~ That your stomach contains hydrochloric acid which helps to digest your food?  

~ A bite from an ant contains formic acid. The acid from this bite is what makes the bite itch or sting.  

~ A car battery contains a strong acid called sulphuric acid.  

~ Some fruits contain an acid called citric acid.  

~ Vinegar contains another acid call acetic acid or ethanoic acid.  

~ If you are stung by a bee you should rub an alkaline solution like camomile or a baking soda solution to help stop the sting. A bee injects an acidic solution that irritates the skin so by rubbing the alkaline solution this helps to balance out the cause.

 ~ If you are stung by a yellow jacket you should rub an acid solution like vinegar on the sting to help with the pain. A yellow jacket injects an alkaline solution that irritates the skin so by rubbing an acidic solution this helps to balance out the cause.

~ Some acids are more dangerous than others.

~ Acids and alkalis are not all the same strength.  Concentrated solutions are the most dangerous.

Less dangerous acids:

~ Citric acid - lemonade
~ Ethanoic acid - vinegar
~ Tartaric acid - baking powder

More dangerous acids:

~ Hydrochloric acid - weak solution in the stomach
~ Sulphuric acid - car batteries
~ Nitric acid - cleaning metals


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