In this fun activity, children will be exploring if materials react differently when they’re nano-sized! They’ll determine what fizzes faster – small or large pieces? Why does the exact same material behave in different and surprising ways?
They’ll explore the chemical reactions between water and effervescent antacid tables to see just how MUCH size really matters! So grab some safety goggles and dive right into this fun science activity!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- 4 Clear Glasses
- Effervescent antacid tablets
- Food coloring
- Safety goggles
Safety Note: Supervision is required for this activity. Do not eat or drink these materials. The antacid tables contain medication.
- Fill two of the cups halfway with water. Put the same amount of water in each cup. Add a drop of food coloring to each cup.
- Remove two antacid tablets from their wrapper. Drop one into one of the empty cups. Crush or break the other tablet into many small pieces, and put it in the other empty cup.
- At the same time, pour the colored water into both of the cups containing the antacid. Which fizzes up faster, the whole tablets or the tablet you broke into lots of pieces?
What Is Happening?
The crushed tablet fizzes faster than the whole tablet. That’s because it has a greater surface-area-to-volume ratio.
For the same amount of antacid, the crushed tablet has more surface – or exterior – to react with the water. Because the water can reach more of the antacid immediately, the chemical reaction (fizzing) happens faster.
How Is This Nano?
A material can act differently when it’s nano-sized. Things on the nanoscale have a lot of surface area, so they react much more easily and quickly than they would if they were larger.
For example, nano sized particles of aluminum are explosive. Good thing regular-sized aluminum doesn’t explode, or it would be dangerous to drink soda!
Nanotechnology takes advantage of the way things behave differently at the nanoscale to make new products and applications.
For example, an extra-sticky glue can be made from tiny starch molecules that are only 100 nanometers in size. This eco-friendly adhesive is used to stick graphics onto cardboard packaging.
Check out this video on Material Marvels with Dr. Ainissa Ramirez. She demonstrates how materials behave strangely when they are nanosize—about 1/100,000 the thickness of your hair.