BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Bath Bomb

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Have you ever used a bath bomb? They smell good and can be a lot of fun as they fizz and maybe even turn your bath water cool colors. Did you know every time you use one, you’re doing science? All of the little bubbles that happen when you drop a bath bomb into water, are caused by a chemical reaction.  

So, let’s make one and see how this all comes together. 

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: 3-4 2 oz. cups with lids, a small mixing bowl, a popsicle stick, 1/4 cup of baking soda, 2 tbs. each of citric acid, cornstarch, and Epsom salt, food coloring powder, 1/2 tbs. of olive oil, 3 drops of essential oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of water.

STEP 1: Combine the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, Epsom salt, and food coloring in the bowl.

STEP 2: Add in the olive oil, essential oil, and water. Mix well.

STEP 3: Fill the plastic cups with the bath bomb mixture. 

NOTE: Be sure to pack it down with your fingers before you seal it tightly.

STEP 4: Let the bath bombs harden for 2-3 days. If you can’t stand to wait though, they’ll still work, they just won’t be hard yet. 

STEP 5: Drop it in water to see the results.

Science behind this experiment: Some of the first things we put in were baking soda and citric acid. This is where we get the fizz. Citric acid is exactly that, an acid, which means it has a pH balance less than 7. The same goes for things like lemon juice, orange juice, and vinegar. Baking soda, on the other hand, is a base, which means the pH balance is above 7.

You can think of these as opposites and when we mix them together, they try to neutralize each other. This creates a chain of chemical reactions, which means the molecules break apart and then combine in all these different ways.

When baking soda and citric acid are mixed together, their molecules rearrange to create carbon dioxide. Because carbon dioxide is a gas, it makes bubbles! 

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