Adult sized 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.


  1. john says:

    Who else read “adult sized” and thought “large enough to house an adult human”?

  2. gdogg says:

    Baking soda or baking powder? You say both.

  3. John England says:

    @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.

  4. Paul says:

    @John x2
    Yeah, I was really excited for a few seconds until I saw how tiny it was.

  5. Johnny O. Farnen says:

    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….

  6. websurfingtheuniverse says:

    Biggest letdown on HAD ever.

  7. Galane says:

    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.

  8. Tronic says:

    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.

  9. Mystick says:

    …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!

  10. Whatnot says:

    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.

  11. pcf11 says:

    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…

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