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Carbon dioxide Fire Extinguisher Experiment

Updated on June 14, 2014
What you will need
What you will need | Source
Adding the Baking Soda
Adding the Baking Soda | Source
After adding the vinegar
After adding the vinegar | Source


  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Clear Container
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Candle(s)
  • Lighter


  1. Pour about 1 tsp of baking soda into a clear container.
  2. Add 3-5 drops of your favorite food coloring (optional)
  3. Add about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of white vinegar into the container with the baking soda.
  4. Enjoy the reaction for a few moments :D
  5. Wait about 20-30 seconds while the reaction tapers off.
  6. Light your candle(s)
  7. Take the container and slowly "pour" the air from the container over the candle(s). Note: Don't pour the liquid on the flames
  8. As you pour over the candle(s) to candle, the flame(s) will extinguish. O.O
  9. Add more baking soda and vinegar to continue this experiment.
  10. You can test different amounts of vinegar and baking proportion to see what puts out the most candles and make it a true experiment!


How it Works

It all comes down to the combustion triangle. Flames require oxygen, fuel, and heat. If you remove any of these three components, it will cause the fire to cease to exist.

In the Carbon dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguisher experiment, we are using CO2 to get ride of the oxygen that the fire needs in order to burn. The baking soda and the vinegar, when mixed, undergo a acid-base reaction and produce CO2 gas:

NaHCO3 + HC2H3O2 → NaC2H3O2 + H2O + CO2

Hence the bubbling in the container. And since CO2 gas is heavier then air, it will stayed in the container; this allows you to pour it over the flame and basically suffocate it. When the flame is no longer able to get enough oxygen, it ceases to exist.


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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very cool demonstration. I'm going to try this with my teen!