Adult sized baking powder submarine

baking-powder-submarine

It really doesn’t matter what age you are, we’re sure you remember baking powder submarines. That’s because cereal manufacturers have been including them as prizes since the advent of injection molded plastic. Fill them with baking soda and take them in the bath with you. They gently dive and surface. The problem is that the cereal prizes were tiny. Now you can relive your childhood with an adult size version of your own making.

The submarine is basically a hunk of PVC with a conning tower to keep it upright and a chunk of hose into which the baking powder is placed. The idea is that the powdery acid and base that makes up the stuff reacts when hit with water. This gives off a bit of carbon dioxide, which makes the sub float to the surface until the bubble escapes and is replaced with water to again sink the ship. The difficult part is to find the right buoyancy (using wine bottle cork) so that the bubble is all it takes to oscillate between the surface and the watery depths.

Watch it go in the video after the break.

25 thoughts on “Adult sized baking powder submarine

    1. I was picturing large 50lb bags of baking powder and someone risking their life on the maiden voyage. I had to look it up but baking power is just baking soda with an acidic agent added so moisture will activate the reaction. I guess you could use baking soda if you dropped it into vinegar, but you might just end up with a volcano then.

  1. @john – Yeah, I was pretty sure I was about to see an epic “adult-sized” submarine that an “adult” could get in… I guess that just means the gauntlet has been thrown. Me thinks Costco would be the first stop for baking powder.

  2. Baking POWDER folks. Baking SODA provides a negligible reaction in water as H2O is not a strong enough acid.

    Now, with vinegar this is a different story….

  3. Scale it up, add fins to provide forward motion as it rises and sinks. Equip it with various sensors (For Science!) and an automatic system to replenish the baking powder from an onboard supply, with compensating ballast tank as the powder is used.

    Toss in the ocean and see how far it can go.

    1. I think this is one for Mythbusters! A little math and a scale test about how much carbon dioxide gas must form before a person, and the rig, can rise to the surface seems necessary…

  4. I’m going to have to agree. The words “Adult sized” should be replaced with “home made.” I was imagining a sub with a minimum of 4″ pipe.

  5. …and after you’re done cleaning the “res” out by playing with it as a submarine, it’s all ready to go again for it’s designed-purpose!

  6. Nope, I immediately got what was meant with adult-size by the magic property of seeing a hand holding the thing and by the write-up being obvious.

  7. When I saw the picture I thought someone was trying to smoke crack in a PVC pipe, then I read the title. For a moment there though I really thought the site had gone downhill…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s