BrainStorms: Science with Scottlin – Popping Balloons with an Orange??

Science With Scottlin

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – You’ve most likely popped a balloon before using a sharp object or even by hitting it with something. Have you ever popped a balloon with an orange? If not, today we will! 

So, let’s get started. 

GRAB YOUR INGREDIENTS: a knife, an orange, balloons 

NOTE: You’ll want to have adult supervision when using the knife. 

STEP 1: Blow up some balloons  

STEP 2: Cut a piece of the orange off 

NOTE: All you need for this is the rind, so be sure to scoop out the inside of your piece after you cut it. 

STEP 3: Squeeze the rind over the balloon and – pop!! 

Science behind this experiment: What happened here? All we did was squeeze a little orange juice onto the balloon, right? 

Something called limonene exists in the rind of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes.  

Limonene is a hydrocarbon which means it’s made up mostly of carbon. But, it’s also a non-polar molecule meaning the electron density is spread evenly throughout the molecule. The same goes for latex. Latex is also made of carbons that are non-polar. These together means that the limonene from the orange peel can easily migrate through the latex. 

Since the balloon is blown up, the latex is stretched thin and there is a high pressure inside. When the limonene touches the stretched latex, it gets weak and the balloon easily pops. 

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