Most homes and all schools and businesses have fire extinguishers. Fire needs heat, fuel and oxygen, and fire extinguishers work by removing one of the critical ingredients for a fire. This experiment shows one way to do it but make sure you have an adult with you when you try it.
What happens to the candles? Which candle goes out first? The shorter one or the taller one?
When vinegar is combined with baking soda, the two react and produce carbon dioxide gas. The carbon dioxide gas is heavier than the surrounding air so it sinks into the bottom of the bowl. As the reaction continues, more and more carbon dioxide gas is produced which begins to slowly fill up the bowl. When the level of carbon dioxide has risen to the level of the flame, the flame will go out because it needs oxygen – which the carbon dioxide is preventing reaching it.
Don’t worry about the carbon dioxide. It does not smell, it is not poisonous, and plants breathe it in.
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