How to mix vinegar and baking soda in a bottle rocket

Written by kelly gray
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How to mix vinegar and baking soda in a bottle rocket
You can easily make a rocket out of a simple plastic water bottle. (Esteban De Armas Bonino/iStock/Getty Images)

Mixing baking soda and vinegar in a rocket or racing car made out of a plastic water bottle is a popular science project. When the baking soda and vinegar react, it creates carbon dioxide gas, and this gas is what causes bubbles and foam when the two ingredients are mixed. The gas builds pressure inside the bottle or other rocket structure and, once enough gas builds up, the bottle's opening will release propelling the rocket forward.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Toilet paper
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
  • 500 ml (17 oz) plastic bottle
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vinegar
  • Cork
  • Duct tape
  • Toy car or roller skate

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  1. 1

    Place one sheet of toilet paper on a table or flat surface. Pour the baking soda into the centre of the square. Fold up each side of the toilet paper square, forming a baking soda packet.

  2. 2

    Place the packet gently inside the bottle. Place the bottle on the ground, away from people and other structures.

  3. 3

    Pour the vinegar inside the bottle. Press the cork into the bottle opening, making sure it is closed tightly. Wrap the cork with duct tape after placing it in the bottle if it does not fit securely. Lay the bottle on top of the toy car or roller skate, and tape it to the car or skate using duct tape. Turn the rocket so that the cork is facing away from you.

  4. 4

    Step away from the bottle rocket, and watch it take off. The rocket will shoot quickly because of the chemical reaction.

Tips and warnings

  • Because of the potential mess, do the project outside for easy clean-up.
  • The rocket can also be made using an empty film canister.
  • Always wear safety glasses to avoid injury.
  • Do not use the cap that comes with the bottle in place of the cork, because the experiment will not work properly.

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