Try This at Home: Fizzing Fun
Nano-sized materials can exhibit properties different from their larger-scale counterparts.
What You Need
- 300 mL (1 1/2 cups) water
- 1 effervescent medicine tablet
- 2 equal sized cups, preferably clear
- 1 small plate
What To Do
Make sure you have an adult with you to supervise this experiment.
Put 150 mL (3/4 cup) water into each cup.
Break the effervescent tablet in half. Crush one half of the effervescent tablet onto the plate.
Make a hypothesis! What do you think will happen when you put the effervescent tablet into the water? Do you think you will be able to see a difference between the crushed tablet and the whole one?
At the same time, put the intact half into one cup and the crushed half into the other cup. You should notice both tablets fizzing and bubbling. Which tablet, the whole or the crushed one, is fizzing more than the other? Which tablet stopped fizzing first? Was your hypothesis correct?
By crushing the effervescent tablet, you are increasing its surface area to volume ratio; there are more nooks and crannies for the water to touch on the crushed tablet than on the whole tablet. Although you increased the surface area, you did not change the volume of the tablet; that is to say, you did not remove any of it.
You should have noticed the crushed tablet fizzing and bubbling more than the whole tablet. This is because there is more surface area for the crushed tablet to touch the water. You also should have noticed that the crushed tablet stopped fizzing first. This is also a result of its increased surface area. The total amount of the crushed tablet's "fizziness" was used up first.
Comparing the size of a nanometer to a meter is like comparing the size of a marble to the Earth!