Did you know that you can pop a balloon with an orange peel, without even touching the balloon!? I couldn’t believe my eyes either the first time I saw this experiment! Let’s jump right in and learn How to Pop a Balloon Without Touching It!
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This eye-popping and balloon popping experiment will probably become a household favorite for your kids! The best part is you only need a balloon and an orange to do it!
How to Pop a Balloon Without Touching It
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- Large Latex Balloon
- An Orange
How to Pop a Balloon From a Distance
- Inflate a large balloon and tie it off to keep the air from escaping.
- Carefully cut a small orange peel from an orange.
- Hold the balloon and orange peel about 6 inches apart from each other with the outside of the orange peel facing the balloon.
- Squeeze and bend the orange peel to make the juices spray onto the balloon.
- Watch and wait for a few seconds for your balloon to magically pop!
Step 1: Blow-up a Balloon With Air
The easiest way to inflate a balloon is typically with your mouth, but you could use an air pump or compressor too if you want.
The important thing is to add enough air so that your balloon is nice and big which will help the latex be stretched and weak enough to pop in our experiment.
Of course, don’t forget to tie your balloon off to keep all that air inside before moving on to the next step!
Step 2: Cut a Small Orange Peel From an Orange
Carefully peel a small portion of the orange. Using a knife to do this is probably the easiest way, but you will want to make sure an adult is around to help the kids if you use this method.
A safer way for the kids to do this would be to just let them peel the orange with their fingers as if they were going to eat it (they can enjoy a tasty orange treat after the experiment too).
Step 3: Hold the Balloon in One Hand and the Orange Peel in the Other
Before your hands become tied up in holding your balloon and orange peel, this is the time you want to put some safety goggles on! After all, a balloon will be popping in your face soon!
Now use one hand to hold your balloon and the other hand to hold the orange peel.
You do not want the balloon and orange peel to touch each other, but you need them to be close enough that the orange peel juices will contact the balloon.
The best way to do this is to keep the orange peel and balloon about 6 inches apart from each other. Make sure the outside portion of the orange peel is facing towards the balloon.
Step 4: Squeeze the Orange Peel to Make the Juices Spray the Balloon
Begin squeezing and pinching the orange peel. It may be helpful to pinch the orange peel from top to bottom with the outside of the orange peel bending in the direction of the balloon.
Doing this should help the oils in the orange peel spray towards the balloon and make contact with the balloon.
Step 5: Watch the Balloon Pop!
After you see a little bit of orange peel juice (limonene oil) has sprayed onto the balloon, you can put your orange peel down and wait for the balloon to pop!
Depending on the size of your balloon and the thickness of the latex, it should take between 15 seconds to 1 minute for the balloon to pop after the orange peel juices contact the balloon.
Why Do Orange Peels Pop Balloons?
The magic behind how to pop a balloon without touching it is thanks to an oil in orange peels called limonene. Limonene is what we refer to as the juice in the orange peel that we squeeze out and spray the balloon with.
This limonene oil is what we can thank for the wonderful smell of oranges! It is also what makes this balloon popping experiment possible!
The chemistry between the limonene and the balloon react in a manner that weakens the rubber latex of the balloon and makes the balloon pop.
This is because both the limonene oil in the orange peel and the latex rubber of the balloon are made of hydrocarbon, non-polar molecules.
When two non-polar substances come into contact with each other, they actually dissolve together very easily.
As the limonene from the orange peel contacts the balloon, a little bit of the latex rubber of the balloon dissolves into the limonene. This weakens the balloon enough for the balloon to explode!