Lab Report: What happens if put bones into vinegar.

My son's lab report for studying human bones and learning how a base will dissolve the calcium in bones.   I needed to assist my son in preparing the bones, but otherwise he did the experiment himself.  He asked me to handle the bones after they sat in the vinegar.  He took the pictures.  :)



Hypothesis: Vinegar would weaken the uncooked bone, and it would not weaken the cooked bone in vinegar.   The bones not in vinegar... The uncooked one would not break and the cooked one would break. 

Procedure: We put one cooked bone and one uncooked into vinegar and let them in there for five days.  After five days we took them out too see what would happen.   We put one uncooked and one cooked bone on a plate and left them to sit for five days.


Observation: 
The bones in vinegar were both bendable.  The uncooked bone was more bendable than the cooked bone.  You could bend the ends of the cooked bone but not the middle.   With the uncooked bone you could bend the entire thing.   The ones in vinegar, the cartilage came off, it was gloppy with the uncooked one... spreadout with long strands, the cooked one stayed together but was mushy.  Both bones not put in vinegar were not bendable. 
Uncooked bones in Vinegar
Cooked Bone in Vinegar

Conclusion: Vinegar weakens bones and cartilage.  Letting bones air dry makes them harder.   Vinegar is a base and bases dissolve things.

9 comments

  1. Interesting experiment! Is this another one you came up with yourselves? Great job!

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  2. Good job with the experiment. - Lori

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  3. Kym, it was an experiment that we modified from the God's design series. And thank you Lori. I was surprised at how well it turned out...I didn't have high hopes for it.

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  4. Oh, I love this experiment! Have you heard of Steve Spangler? He has a lot of great science ideas you can easily do at home, just like this one. (He also really likes homeschoolers!) Thanks for sharing the blow by blow - I like all the pictures!

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    1. Thank you. I have heard of Spangler and he's fun to watch. My lad doesn't like watching him because "Then what's the point of doing it myself mom? He's already told me what will happen".

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  5. Classic :) Look up the medullary bones system on chickens -- it's a really cool "real world" extension to this topic! (thank you poultry 4-H!) :)

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    1. I think it would be cool if we could find some "live human" bones to do this experiment with or even some generic (non-bird) bones to use. I wonder if it would turn out differently. What with birds having hollow bones.

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  6. I love your son's science experiments! They look so fun. Did he make this one up himself?

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    1. we worked on this one together. :) Thanks.

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