Simple Science: pH Indicators, Acids and Bases with Red Cabbage

Any experiment with colour is always a sure winner. If it has changing colours, even better… So when I saw this pH experiment kit, I couldn’t resist.

This is another experiment by Denjiro that I bought from Japan. Like our Solar Car, the instructions were entirely in Japanese but between the pictures and what I could recall from Chemistry, we managed to bumble our way through it.

The kit comes with dried red cabbage and two sachets of unidentified white powder – an acid and a base. Well, they had labels but I couldn’t read them.

Place the dried red cabbage into a bowl and add 300 ml of hot water. This will create a liquid with a lovely purple colour. Remove the bits of cabbage with a sieve.

Science experiments: red cabbage pH indicator

Divide the solution into five clear glasses. In this experiment, the purple colour indicates that the solution is neutral – neither acidic or alkaline.

Science experiments: red cabbage pH indicator

Empty the sachets of white powder – one each into separate glasses and watch the colour change! The acid will turn red and the base will turn blue.

Science experiments: red cabbage pH indicator

Now try adding other stuff to the purple cabbage solution and watch the colour change. Identify whether they are acidic or alkaline. In the following images, we added some lemon juice…

Science experiments: red cabbage pH indicatorScience experiments: red cabbage pH indicator

The boys had a blast adding all manner of liquids and powders to the solution to watch its effect on the colour.

Red Cabbage Science Experiment

This is a really easy experiment and you can do it at home with a bit of red cabbage, water, and various ingredients around the house. Just check out Steve Spangler’s instructions:

Here’s something else you can do as well- acid breath:

Related:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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