What Effect Does Vinegar Have on Eggs?

Author: Staff Writers
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Answer: Eggshells are made primarily of calcium carbonate. The acid in vinegar softens the calcium of the eggshell. Adding a little vinegar to the water when boiling eggs is an old cook's trick that makes them easier to peel.

More Info: A child's science experiment to conduct with eggs and vinegar demonstrates the effect of acidic substances on calcium.
  • Place an egg (boiled or raw) in a clear glass or small jar.
  • Pour enough white vinegar into the container to completely cover the egg.
  • Set the container somewhere that it will not need to be moved for about three days.
  • Check the egg daily to observe the changes, but do not remove it from the vinegar.
  • After three days, carefully lift the egg from the container with a plastic spoon.
  • Try dropping the egg from a height of four or five inches and watch it bounce.

The vinegar has dissolved the outer shell of the egg and thickened the inner membrane. The result is a rubbery, naked egg.

An interesting variation on the egg trick is to soak chicken bones in vinegar for 24 hours. Take them out and tie them into a knot. Leave them out of the vinegar in the open air and they will get hard again. This makes a great show and tell for kids to take to school.

These activities can also be applied to discussions of the effects of acidic drinks on teeth, how acidic water forms limestone caves or the problems brought about by environmental pollution and the resulting acid rain.


Works Cited

Illinois Dept. of Physics
"Ask the Van"

"Is Vinegar Stronger Than Bone?."

Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception
"Science of Eggs: Making Naked Eggs Activity."

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"What Effect Does Vinegar Have on Eggs?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <http://www.sophisticatededge.com/what-effect-does-vinegar-have-on-eggs.html>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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