How to make a carbon dioxide sandwich bomb

Report Copyright Infringement View in OSM UK View in OSM NZ


When you mix vinegar and baking soda, a chemical reaction takes place producing a gas called carbon dioxide.

The reaction that happens from mixing vinegar and baking soda is caused by the chemical reaction between the acetic acid (CH3COOH) in vinegar and the sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) in baking soda. This reaction forms sodium acetate (NaCH3COO), water (H2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2).

The bag puffs up because the CO2 takes up lots of space, eventually filling the bag. If there’s more gas than the bag can hold . . . KABOOM!

Separating the substances in bags is a clever way of slowing down the reaction.

This activity was sourced from


Baking soda
2 different sized sandwich bags
Safety glasses
Measuring cups


1. Start by putting on your safety glasses.
2.Fill three quart-size zipper-lock bags with approximately 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
3. Fill three smaller snack-size zipper-lock bags with varying amounts of vinegar.
i.e. - Fill one bag with 60 mL (1/4 cup) of vinegar
Second bag with 80 mL (1/3 cup) of vinegar,
Third bag with 120 mL (1/2 cup) of vinegar.
4. Seal the vinegar bags and place them inside the bags with the baking soda.
Be sure to face the seal of the bag with the vinegar , facing towards the bakng soda.
When you seal the outside bags, make sure to remove as much of the air as possible.
5. Put the bags on a table where it’s okay for things to get a little wet and messy (outside tables would be good).
6. Now get ready for the fun . . . The goal is to break open the smaller bag filled with vinegar in order for it to mix with the baking soda.
One way to bust open the bag is to smack your fist down on the vinegar bags inside the baking soda bags to break them open.
Immediately shake the bags to make sure the substances mix.
7. Make observations about how large each bag gets and how long it takes before you hear the giant POP!


  • Vinegar, baking soda, plastic bags, explosion, safety glasses

Badge Links

This activity doesn't complete any badge requirements