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  • Sara Thompson

Which Fizzes Faster?

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

For this home experiment you will test and see the difference between whole and broken up pieces of antacid tablets react in water.

Materials: tray, 4 clear cups or glasses, antacid tablets such as Alka-Seltzer, water, food coloring if desired.

Doing this experiment on a tray will help with the fizzy clean up. In 2 of the clear cups, fill them halfway with water, making sure they are the same amount. Using a measuring cup can help. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to each for some colorful fun. Next, place one whole antacid tablet into one of the remaining empty clear cups. Then, break up another antacid tablet into as many pieces as you can, and place in the bottom of the last empty clear cup. Place the cups with the antacid tablets in them on the tray if they are not already. At the same time, pour the colored water into the clear cups with the antacid, one cup of water to one cup containing tablets. See how their reactions are different!

The clear cup with the broken pieces should have fizzed up more. When you broke up the pieces, you increased the surface area of the tablet that reacted to water. Even though the tablets started as the same size, more surface area equals more reaction. This has been used in nanotechnology as well. Large materials that are broken down into smaller pieces can react more easily or quicker because of their small size, such as materials used in solar panels. More surface area captures more solar rays and can produce more energy.

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