Decomposition of Baking Soda
How to Decompose Baking Soda
Baking soda is not only great for cooking, but it is also a very useful chemical for science projects. A classic example of a science experiment using baking soda is the baking soda-vinegar volcano. There are many more chemical reactions, however, that you can explore with the help of baking soda. One of them is called a decomposition reaction, which makes baking soda lose weight.
Preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C).Though sodium bicarbonate starts to decompose at 176 °F (80 °C), the reaction will occur very slowly at this temperature. A higher temperature will increase the speed of the reaction.
- The temperature the oven is set to may need to be adjusted based on the amount of baking soda being decomposed, for larger amounts increase the temperature to 450–475 °F (232–246 °C)
- A convection oven will work as well.
Measure the amount to decompose on the scale or using a measuring tool (tsp, tbsp, etc.). Zero the scale and measure out the amount of baking soda to be decomposed.
- A digital scale will be easiest to use but a non-digital scale will work also.
- Make sure to add the baking soda to the scale little by little to avoid getting an error reading on the scale.
- If using a measuring tool, make sure to level the baking soda.
Record the mass measured.This will serve as a baseline to see if the decomposition reaction has occurred.
- Record the mass to as many decimal places as possible to improve accuracy.
Place the amount of baking soda measured to the oven safe plate/dish.Place the baking soda near the middle of the dish.
- Spread out the baking soda to a relatively thin layer on the dish. This will make the decomposition reaction go faster as heat will be evenly distributed.
Heating the Baking Soda
Set the timer for 15 minutes.
- The amount of time required may vary based on the amount of baking soda being decomposed. For a larger amount, increase the time set to 20-25; for a smaller amount decrease the time to 10 minutes.
Place the plate/dish with the baking soda into the preheated oven.Make sure to wear oven mitts while opening, closing, and placing items into the oven to avoid any injuries.
- Place the plate/dish in the center of the rack for best and fastest results.
Let the baking soda sit in the oven for the duration of the timer.If the baking soda is on the dish/plate in a thick layer, stir it halfway through to make sure all of it is exposed to heat.
- The baking soda willnotchange in appearance so do not be alarmed when the baking soda stays a white powder. The reaction is occurring.
Remove the dish/plate from the oven.Again, remember to wear oven mitts.
- Allow the dish/plate to cool completely before moving on to the next step.
- Remember to switch off the oven.
Finishing and Cleaning Up
Reweigh/remeasure the powder and record the new weight.Zero the scale and weigh the contents of the dish/plate.
- Make sure to get as much of the white powder of the plate and onto the scale or into the measuring tool for maximum accuracy.
Subtract the newly found weight from the initial weight recorded.If the reaction occurred, the resulting product should be significantly lighter than what was put into the oven.
- The heat will have decomposed the baking soda into sodium carbonate, water, and carbon dioxide. The gaseous products (water and carbon dioxide) will have escaped into the air leaving behind just the sodium carbonate.
Wash the dish.After the dish has fully cooled, it may be washed and put away.
- Sodium carbonate is only toxic in very large amounts, so thoroughly washing the plate/dish with normal dish soap is enough to properly clean the plate/dish and use it again.
Use or dispose of the the sodium carbonate.It may be kept and used or discarded in the trash. As the substance is not a toxic waste product, it is safe to dispose of in a normal trash can.
- If extremely large amounts of sodium bicarbonate is decomposed, dispose of the product at your nearest toxic waste disposal area.
Video: Decomposition of Baking Soda
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