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Author Topic: Water Marbles Experiment  (Read 37633 times)

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Mole7

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Water Marbles Experiment
« on: December 21, 2008, 03:16:44 PM »

I have seen a video online of "water marbles" created out of vinegar, baking soda, and calcium bicarbonate. Some of my classmates, my chemistry teacher and I tried this experiment, but we failed following the exact instruction of the video. We want to try it again. What we got so far is that the the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) reacts with the acetic acid (vinegar) to make carbon dioxide (gas-evaporates) water (evaporates because we boil it) and sodium acetate (aquos). Lets just say we took raw sodium acetate (well figure out exactly how much the vinegar and baking soda from the recipe makes and use the same amount) and combine it with calcium carbonate in water. Then we will have a reaction of sodium acetate with the calcium bicarbonate to make....what? That's where we are stuck on xD
Help us out here?
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macman104

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2008, 03:59:00 PM »

I looked at the video for it.  However, they say they boil the vinegar to 550F which is crazy pure glacial acetic acid boils only 244.5F and the vinegar you buy at the store is usually 5% which is only 213F.  So either they aren't telling you the whole thing, or they just chose a high temperature at random.
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 04:18:44 PM »

Well, thats actually one of the aspects of the video we thought was false. So we tried using a hot plate, and then a bunsen burner, which is basically an open fire. So either way I think we achieved the temperature at which we could boil the solution  ;D
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macman104

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 05:55:57 PM »

Well, but what I'm saying is that, there is no way you can heat the solution to 550F unless you add pressure, because the solution will simply not reach those temperatures before it boils off, no matter what type of flame or heat source you use.

You keep flipping between calcium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate, you must mean calcium carbonate, because calcium bicarbonate doesn't exist as a solid.

So...

CH3CHOO-Na+ + CaCO3  :rarrow: (CH3CHOO-)2Ca2+ + Na2CO3.

Now, I thought it seemed plausible to perform this double replacement, but I wanted to read about Calcium Acetate, so I googled.  Guess what I found out about Calcium Acetate,
Quote from: Wikipedia
If an alcohol is added to a saturated solution of calcium acetate, a semisolid, flammable gel forms that is much like "canned heat" products such as Sterno. Chemistry teachers often prepare "California Snowballs", a mixture of calcium acetate solution and ethanol. The resulting gel is whitish in color, and can be formed to resemble a snowball.

Maybe I'm completely off, the balls in the video were clear and not white like described.  So, that's the closest I can get.  Either the person is playing around and not showing everything because it's fun to mess with people, or the video is not explaining clearly.
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2008, 07:59:08 PM »

I want to thank you for actually steering me in the right way, because I was completely lost :D

You make a very good point, and also answered my first question! (what products are made, because I wasn't sure how this reaction acted)

Now, you said that a potential use for this solution is a mixture with alcohol, which will eventually create a solid, thus proving that a solid is a possible outcome of this reaction. That proves a lot of people wrong who say this experiment is impossible, and I wanted to do that from the beginning of the experiment  ;D (Common Sense 0:1 Chemistry)

What I'm thinking is that the Calcium acetate formed is only part of the result. Is there a way that the sodium carbonate, somehow gives the solution its characteristics upon supercooling? In the video (which is very hard to believe now that we proved many things about it wrong) they said that when the solution is taken out, it looses its "polar ability" and sticks to itself.

What do you suppose gives the supercooled solution its "polar ability"?
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2008, 08:24:08 PM »

Also, I just noticed.
You used Calcium Carbonate in your reaction, but theoretically speaking, we have to use water in the experiment (say we want to combine raw sodium acetate and calcium carbonate, two solids....we can only do it in water) and if calcium carbonate dissociates, it becomes calcium BIcarbonate (adds an H atom).

Taken from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_bicarbonate
Quote
Calcium bicarbonate (Ca(HCO3)2), also called calcium hydrogen carbonate, does not refer to a known solid compound; it exists only in aqueous solution containing the ions calcium (Ca2+), dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2), bicarbonate (HCO3–), and carbonate (CO32–).

Would that alter the reaction or should we just consider HCO3 polyatomic and thus make Na2HCO3 a product in place of Sodium carbonate?

Because that would make baking soda and calcium acetate.....I think i messed up somewhere....so just ignore this post :D
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macman104

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 08:33:37 PM »

I want to thank you for actually steering me in the right way, because I was completely lost :D

You make a very good point, and also answered my first question! (what products are made, because I wasn't sure how this reaction acted)

Now, you said that a potential use for this solution is a mixture with alcohol, which will eventually create a solid, thus proving that a solid is a possible outcome of this reaction. That proves a lot of people wrong who say this experiment is impossible, and I wanted to do that from the beginning of the experiment  ;D (Common Sense 0:1 Chemistry)
Well..not quite.  It doesn't prove them wrong, it only shows that the person on the video may be telling the whole story behind how they do this.  Also note that it describes the balls as white, not clear and water looking like the video.
Quote
What I'm thinking is that the Calcium acetate formed is only part of the result. Is there a way that the sodium carbonate, somehow gives the solution its characteristics upon supercooling? In the video (which is very hard to believe now that we proved many things about it wrong) they said that when the solution is taken out, it looses its "polar ability" and sticks to itself.

What do you suppose gives the supercooled solution its "polar ability"?
I honestly don't know.  The only thing I can even close to come up with is that as the water cools it preferentially forms hydrogen bonds with itself, and forces the calcium acetate to form these "micelle" type things.  But I don't really buy that explanation I just gave, lol.

I'll be honest, properties of dissolved acetate species is not something I have special knowledge of.  Despite my major being chemistry, it's never something that really comes up, so I'm just trying to weasel out an explanation that maybe makes half-decent chemical sense ;).
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Borek

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 09:15:07 PM »

CH3CHOO-Na+ + CaCO3  :rarrow: (CH3CHOO-)2Ca2+ + Na2CO3

Very unlikely, given low solubility of calcium carbonate.
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2008, 07:08:54 AM »

Macman, maybe you're not buying it but I am :D

And Borek, you make a good point, Calcium Carbonate is in fact insoluble. But with contact with water, it becomes bicarbonate, by recieving a H atom....
I honestly dont know if that is right, all I know is that somehow it does dissociate. When we did this experiment, it did in fact dissolve, so its very hard to explain what actually happens inside the solution.
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Borek

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2008, 08:01:18 AM »

And Borek, you make a good point, Calcium Carbonate is in fact insoluble. But with contact with water, it becomes bicarbonate, by recieving a H atom...

Try to write reaction equation. Water is not enough, you need something else for that.

Depending on the amount of vinegar added you could just dissolve carbonate in acid.
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2008, 04:42:22 PM »

Yes, you are right, calcium carbonate does not dissolve in water. It does dissolve in an acid. This means that using raw sodium acetate is not an option unless we find an acid to dissolve it in. So knowing that, I would come back to option #1, baking soda and vinegar, and try to figure out something there.

Although this makes me wonder. If we have raw calcium acetate, what can we do to it to create a necessary outcome?
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 06:12:38 PM »

Plus we have already established the fact that we need acid, AKA vinegar to dissolve the generally insoluble carbonate. I'm thinking that it still yields the same products, but the way of mixing the ingredients is the actual problem in the experiment.
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mike_302

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2009, 10:26:31 AM »

I saw the title of the thread and had to weigh in... This has all been disussed before in other places, and apparently the video is fake. They use clear plastic marbles in the water and use hand and light tricks to simply let the marbles fall into the water.
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Mitch

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2009, 11:12:29 AM »

Some of the videos look very fake.
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Mole7

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Re: Water Marbles Experiment
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2009, 08:00:49 PM »

Well, thats another one of our concerns, if the experiment is fake then theres no point of getting at this experiment scientifically. Although, with this forums help we have found that calcium acetate is in fact a semisolid, which provides us with a speck of hope that this "water" can in fact form a solid. THe question is if it is in fact possible, how could it be explained, how to put the ingredients together for the best results.
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