Science project

Heating Chemical Reactions

Research Question:

What effect does heat have on a chemical reaction?

Some chemical reactions, such as rusting, take a long time. Others, such as burning, take a very short amount of time. How does heat affect the rate of the reaction? This science project will allow you test how heat affects a specific chemical reaction – between seltzer tablets and water.


  • Water
  • 2 identical cups
  • Ice
  • Seltzer tablets
  • Thermometer (optional)

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Pour cold water into one cup until it is about 2/3 full.
  2. Add ice to the water so that it reaches the top of the cup.
  3. Wait until the ice melts completely, about five to ten minutes. The result should be extremely cold water.
  4. Fill the second cup to the top with very hot tap water.
  5. Drop one seltzer tablet into each cup, making sure to do so simultaneously.
  6. Observe the chemical reaction that follows.
  7. How long does it take for the chemical reaction in each cup to complete? Record your data in a simple table, such as the one below.

Consider extensions for this experiment. For example, you might use a thermometer to measure the temperatures of various cups of water and make a line graph showing the relationship between the water temperature in each cup and the time it takes for the reaction to complete. Can you determine what the relationship between the two variables is? Can you predict how long the reaction will take in water of any given temperature?

Terms/Concepts: Chemical reaction; How do seltzer tablets work?; What does heat do to molecules?


  • Easy Genius Science Projects with Chemistry, by Robert Gardener. Page 53.
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