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April 3, 2020

Springtime, brings sweet smelling flowers, buzzing insects and of course, egg hunts! In recognition of all things spring, this Science Experiment examines chemical reactions using an egg. Follow the simple steps below to completely remove the shell from an egg, without breaking anything. All it takes is some patience and science!

Materials Needed

  • 1 raw egg
  • Large glass or non-metallic container
  • Vinegar

Experiment Directions

  1. Start by submerging one raw egg in a container full of vinegar. You should see mini bubbles forming around the shell. This is a chemical reaction taking place. Take pictures to see compare how the egg changes.
  2. Leave the egg in the container of vinegar for 24 to 48 hours. You might notice a white film on the top of the vinegar as the shell breaks down. This is normal.
  3. On the second day, throw away the vinegar in the cup and replace with fresh vinegar. We’d recommend using your hand or a strainer to “catch” the egg, and not a spoon. Spoons can break the egg. Put the cup and egg aside for another full day and don’t disturb the egg. Take another picture to compare at the end.
  4. On the third or fourth day, pour off the vinegar and carefully rinse the egg under water. Be gentle with the egg. The shell should be completely gone, and you should see the membrane that surrounds the white and yolk.
  5. Examine the way it moves. Shine a flashlight through the egg and see what happens. What size is the egg now? How does it look different from the beginning?

What Happened?

Eggshells are made of calcium carbonate and vinegar contains acetic acid. The acid reacts with the calcium carbonate and makes calcium acetate plus water and carbon dioxide. This is what all those wee bubbles are. This reaction eats through the shell leaving behind a “naked” egg.

Safety Note

Remember to wash your hands after handling the naked egg at any point in this experiment. Eggs can contain salmonella, so scrub away.

Do not eat this egg. This is not a safe way to prepare an egg for consumption.

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