Friday, September 26, 2008

Film Canister Rockets- FUN, SAFE, EASY EXPLOSIONS

For Science: Easy, Fun, SAFE Explosions!!

NO, I haven’t lost my mind. The kids will think this activity is a real hoot.

Its simple, its cheap, and all ages enjoy it.

Just buy lots of Alka Seltzer tablets!


Alka Selzer Tablets (generic work fine and are cheaper)

Empty Film Canisters (clear ones work best)

Hot Water


1. Draw a line around bottom of film canister about 1 cm from bottom (a little less than 1/2" for the metrically impaired). This helps you to fill the film canister over and over again without having to remeasure each time.

2. Fill up to that line with very warm tap water. You could fill up a container of very warm water into a pitcher and take it with you outside so that you don’t have to keep running in and out for water.

3. Place one quarter of an alka seltzer tablet in the canister and immediately secure lid, turn upside down and place on sidewalk/driveway or similar surface in open, outdoor area

4. Stand back and wait for the "explosion" as the gases build up and the film canister bottom goes FLYING, sometimes as high as 20 feet.This is tremendously fun for children’s parties or as a science fair experiment going on outside.

Why it works:Alka-Seltzer and other effervescent tablets contain sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), a base, and citric acid (C6H8O7), an acid. (They also contain acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) as a pain reliever, but it is not involved in making the fizz.)In the solid tablet the acid and base do not react, but when placed in water the sodium bicarbonate reacts with the citric acid in an acid-base neutralization reaction. One of the products is carbon dioxide gas, which causes the fizz.NaHCO3(aq) + C6H8O7(aq)NaC6H7O7(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My little one will love this! THANKS!