Bouncy Eggs

by Deb on April 8, 2011

This is one I’ve wanted to do for a long time because I think it’s fascinating – to be able to peer into an unbroken egg is a bit like being able to look inside a body and see things how they normally are, not as they are once we’ve broken them. As you can see it’s another video special, we went quite sciencey this time with labels and testing different things, and it’s nice that the little girl (3) can participate more. Big girl (5) shows a lot of promise as a demonstrator, she decided what to say for herself and got it all out without me interrupting.

We tested both raw and boiled eggs, in carbonated water and vinegar. Anything carbonated is slightly acidic which is why we tested that as well. The full video is 6 minutes, if you want to do this with kids I seriously recommend you watch the whole thing with them. But for the time poor I’ve included the highlights.

Full Experiment

Highlights

And if you really don’t want to watch, you basically put eggs into a container and pour vinegar over them as shown below. It will work with both raw and boiled eggs, raw eggs are just more delicate. The bubbles are carbon dioxide from exactly the same acid/carbonate reaction you get in volcanoes, bath bombs and sherbert but rather than using sodium bicarbonate it uses calcium carbonate from the egg shell. This is what makes it hard, so when you take it out the shell gets very soft. You can dissolve it entirely and be left with just the membrane.

Eggs

Eggs in vinegar and carbonated water.

After about 30 hours we checked them, the sparkly water hadn’t done anything but the vinegar had completely dissolved the shells.

after 30 hours

Shells have dissolved.

Only the membrane was left, the raw eggs were transparent.

yolk

See the yolk through the membrane.

They had also absorbed the vinegar making them significantly bigger than the boiled eggs.

size difference

Boiled egg with most of shell gone. Raw egg larger.

Ocean Acidification

This is more than just a fun thing to do with kids, it’s very important environmentally. As the world warms and the carbon dioxide increases, more of it is dissolved in sea water. This makes the water acidic because dissolved carbon dioxide makes carbonic acid, exactly the same as cool drinks. The reason Coke will dissolve a tooth left in it is not anything inherently evil about Coke, but the same reaction we are seeing here. And unfortunately for shellfish, their shells are made of calcium carbonate just like the chicken eggs, and they will have great difficulty growing them if the ocean becomes more acidic, among all the other problems of environmental change.

That’s a lot of animals and a lot of ecosystems that could collapse. Unfortunately the first thing we need to do about it is to stop pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and possibly capture some that’s already there. Yet another reason to be more green.

Have some fun and let me know how it goes!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernadette Jee via Facebook April 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

how long does it take for it to happen and sounds like soft drink need to be taken off the market all together, another unnecessary source of CO2?

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Science@home via Facebook April 8, 2011 at 8:11 am

It was about 30 hours when we checked ours, 24 hours is definitely enough for it to be nice and soft.
Cool drinks are carbon neutral, at least the actual fizz is :D Carbon dioxide is put in under pressure, then bubbles out when you open them. They aren’t actually producing extra carbon dioxide. They’re basically cordial or ‘fruit juice drink’ with fizz.

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Bernadette Jee via Facebook April 8, 2011 at 8:15 am

Do the eggs smell after the shell has dissolved?

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Science@home via Facebook April 8, 2011 at 8:42 am

Nope, although we put ours straight in the fridge after playing with them. The membrane is permeable so bacteria will get in, but they have absorbed quite a bit of vinegar which kills bacteria. It will be interesting to see what happens

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Colin Wee April 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

Deb, nice touch at the end tying it to dental problems and real world issues. :-) Cheers, Colin
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Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Ocean acidification isn’t really out in the public consciousness yet, but it sounds like it’s going to be a real problem.

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Kelly B April 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm

So cool. I’m doing this with the girls this weekend. Thanks Deb.
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Kelly B April 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Oh, and awesome helpers! Good job girls!!!
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Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I was shocked when I was editing – she did that cold with no rehearsal but she’s like a little professional.

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Glowless April 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Oh wow! I’ve never seen this before, how amazing that the membranes can still hold it all together.
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Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I’d only done it with raw eggs before this, the membranes are so amazing. There’s a lot of cut footage of me going ‘Wow!’

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Deb April 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Correction – I’d never done it with raw eggs, only boiled eggs.

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Sarah@fignutmum April 9, 2011 at 9:30 am

I have done these before. As part of a topic on dinosaurs.
The kids loved them
xx

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Kirrily April 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

My four year old says an impressed “Wowww!” Might have to do this. THanks.
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