Skip to content
AimThe aim of this experiment is to investigate the characteristics of acetic acid (ethanoic acid), including its odor, solubility in water, effect on litmus, and reaction with sodium bicarbonate.
Apparatus requiredTest tube
Litmus paper
Cork fit
Test tube stand
Acetic acid
Sodium bicarbonate
Distilled water
Lime water (freshly prepared)
TheoryEthanoic acid, also known as acetic acid, has a chemical formula of CH3COOH and a carboxylic group (COOH), which contributes to its properties. This weak acid has a freezing point of 16.6°C and is commonly referred to as glacial acetic acid. It has a distinct vinegar-like odor and is soluble in water. Ethanoic acid is known to dissociate in water and can react with alcohol to form ester. When combined with sodium bicarbonate, it releases carbon dioxide gas.
Procedure Odour test:
1 .Take a 10 mL test tube.
2 .Add 5 mL of ethanoic acid into it.
3 .Bring the test tube near your nose and smell it by wafting.
Solubility in water:
1 .Take a 20 mL test tube.
2 .Add 2 mL of ethanoic acid to it.
3 .Pour 10-15 mL of distilled water and mix it.
Effect on litmus:
1 .Take a clean dropper.
2 .Take a blue litmus paper.
3 .Pour 2-3 drops of ethanoic acid on the litmus paper.
Reaction with sodium bicarbonate:
1 .Take a 5 mL test tube.
2 .Add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate to it.
3 .Pour 1 mL of dilute ethanoic acid into the test tube.
4 .Fix a cork with a bent delivery tube to the mouth of the test tube.
5 .Dip the other end of the delivery tube in lime water.
Observation and Result Odour:
Observation: A pungent smell is observed.
Result: Ethanoic acid has a strong, pungent smell similar to vinegar.
Solubility in water:
Observation: Ethanoic acid dissolves in water and forms a clear solution.
Result: Ethanoic acid is soluble in water.
Effect on litmus:
Observation: The blue litmus paper turns red.
Result: Ethanoic acid turns blue litmus paper red, indicating that it is an acidic solution.
Reaction with sodium bicarbonate:
Observation: Effervescence is observed, and the lime water turns milky.
Result: Ethanoic acid reacts with sodium bicarbonate to produce carbon dioxide gas, which turns lime water milky.