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Chemistry Experiments You Can Do at Home

Introduction

How can I make a chicken bone flexible?

  • Solubility in weak acids
  • A jar
  • Vinegar (enough to fill the jar)
  • A chicken bone (one from a drumstick works best)
  1. Obtain a chicken bone, and clean it well. Rinse it with water and remove any remaining skin or meat from the bone.
  2. Before you soften the bone, try bending it to make sure it is rigid. Don’t break it, but test that it is indeed hard.
  3. Fill up the jar with vinegar, and drop your clean bone inside.
  4. Cover the jar (just so that your whole house doesn’t start smelling like vinegar) and let it sit for about 3 days. Recall that vinegar is a dilute aqueous solution of acetic acid, which is a weak acid. Over a few days, the acetic acid helps to dissolve the calcium in the chicken bone. Since the calcium plays a key role in keeping bones hard, the bone will soften once the calcium is dissolved.
  5. Remove the bone, rinse it off with water, and now try bending it again. It should be noticeably more flexible than before. Now you can see that without enough calcium, your bones will not stay strong! This might also provide a good indication of why it’s a good idea to brush your teeth; if you leave behind any foods capable of dissolving calcium still on your teeth, your teeth may lose some of their calcium and begin to become weak.


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