Science Fair Volcanoes
Make Your Own Volcanic Eruption
Chemical volcanoes are a fun and safe way to model real volcanoes and examine the processes that occur during a volcanic eruption. Get safe and easy instructions for making your own chemical volcano, then get ideas for ways to make the volcano into a science fair project.
Make a Chemical Volcano
Safe and Easy Eruptions
First things first! Let's look at different ways you can safely simulate a volcanic eruption using chemicals you probably already have at home:
This is the classic science fair project volcano. Basically, what you do is use clay, playdough, soil, or papier mache to mold a volcano around a jar or bottle. Fill the bottle most of the way full with warm water. Add a lot of red food coloring, a healthy squirt of dishwashing liquid, and a heaping scoop of baking soda. When you are ready for the eruption, pour some vinegar into the container.
Form the cinder cone of your volcano just like you would for the baking soda and vinegar volcano. The difference is, fill your jar or bottle with hydrogen peroxide solution (sold at a pharmacy or grocery store). When you are ready for the eruption, pour in a packet of quick-rising yeast.
It doesn't really matter what container you use for either the baking soda/vinegar volcano or the yeast/peroxide volcano. The Mentos and diet soda volcano works best with a 2 liter bottle of diet soda, however. The candies just barely fit into the mouth of the container. To cause this eruption (which will shoot into the air like a fountain), roll a sheet of paper or index card into a tube. Stack a roll of mentos candies so they form a single column inside your handmade tube. Drop the candies, all at once, down into the 2-liter bottle of diet soda.
Example of an Eruption
Here's a look at what you can expect from an erupting baking soda and vinegar volcano.
Make the Volcano a Science Fair Project
Tip: Use the Scientific MethodOk, now you know how to make a chemical volcano and get it to erupt. Congratulations! There is more to a science fair project than making the volcano. You need to relate the simulation to science. There are multiple ways to do this.
This is the classic project, suitable for younger explorers. Learn about how real volcanoes work. Make your working model as much like a real volcano as possible. Explain how the chemical volcano is like a real volcano. Identify ways in which it is different.
There are multiple types of volcanic eruptions. Not all of them involve lava bubbling up from a cinder cone. The next step up from making a model of a volcano is to explain how a volcanic eruption occurs and relate this to the chemical reaction that takes place in a chemical volcano. All of the volcanoes I have listed produce carbon dioxide gas, which tries to float up from the liquid, gets caught in bubbles, and froths out of the volcano. Even though this is a different principle from how volcanoes erupt, the escape of liquids and gases from the cone is much like what happens when lava and hot gases flow.
Experiments with Chemical Volcanoes
Is there a 'best' proportion of ingredient to cause the perfect eruption? Does the temperature of the ingredients matter? Does the volume of the container make a difference? There are several variables you can control when you make a chemical volcano. You can propose a hypothesis about what will happen if you change one or more of these factors.
Volcanoes at Amazon
Recommended Reading - Volcanoes & Science Fair Projects
- The Eight Volcano Types
There isn't just one sort of volcano. See photos of the different basic types of volcanoes.
- Volcanoes in a Nutshell
Get the lowdown on how real volcanoes work.
- Types of Science Fair Projects
The typical science fair volcano is a model or demonstration, but you can make your volcano into an experiment, too.
- Why Do a Science Fair Project?
For money, fame, and fortune? Well sure, but there are other reasons to do a science fair project besides these.
- Science Fair Project Help
Do you need help with your project or with making the poster or giving a presentation? Here's a resource that covers the nitty-gritty details of starting, doing, and presenting a science fair project.
Mentos & Diet Soda Experiments
Mentos with diet soda makes a great volcano, though you can also compare the eruption to a geyser or fountain. All you have to do is drop a roll of mentos candies all at once into a 2-liter bottle of diet cola.
The baking soda and vinegar volcano uses easy-to-find ingredients, the yeast and peroxide volcano is less common/more unusual, while the mentos and soda volcano erupts like a fountain.
Which type of volcano is your favorite?
One of the attractions at The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas is a huge artificial volcano. The volcano is a light and sound spectacle, yet there is a ton of science behind its workings.
Science Fair Project Help - Volcanoes and More
Whether your science fair project involves volcanoes or some other topic, help is available so this year's project can be your best science fair project ever!
- Science Fair
Make this your one-stop center for all of your science fair project needs. You'll find step-by-step instructions for designing and performing an experiment or demonstration and lots of project ideas.
- Types of Science Fair Projects
Learn about the five types of science fair projects, then decide which is right for you.
- Why Do a Science Fair Project?
There are excellent reasons why you would want to do a science fair project, even if it isn't for a grade.
- Science Fair Crystals
There are several ways you can use crystals for science fair projects. Young scientists may want to make models of types of crystals or grow a crystal from a kit. More advanced researchers can experiment with the effects of changing the growing condi
- What Is a Science Fair Project?
You may have to do a science fair project or help with one, but might be unclear what exactly one is. Here's an introduction to science fair projects that should help clear up any confusion.
- Free Images for Your Science Fair Project
This is a collection of free (public domain) pictures that you can use for your science fair project. You are free to download these images and print them. Please cite the source of the picture.
- Science Fair Project Idea Extravaganza
These science fair project ideas provide information and questions you can develop into a science fair project. Bookmark this page or check back regularly, since new ideas are added. You may submit an idea for a science fair project to be included in