It was my daughter’s fifth birthday celebration. She loves balloons; plenty of them. We were blowing up balloons one after the other and keeping all of them on her bed. Meanwhile her sister grabbed an orange and she sat on the bed to peel them for herself. During the peeling process, a spray of orange peel juice fell on one of the balloons. You know what happened then? The balloon popped instantly. I assumed it as a coincidence but wanted to try myself and see. No, it was not a coincidence but pure chemistry. Every balloon where I sprayed the orange peel juice got popped. Well why is it so? Let us first try the Orange Peel Balloon Pop Experiment before understanding the reason behind.
Try it yourself
- Orange – 1
- Balloon – 1
Let’s do the Orange Peel Balloon Pop Experiment ourselves and see what happens.
Step 1: Blow up the balloon to full and tie its mouth that the air will not escape.
Step 2: Peel an orange
Step 3: Squeeze some of the orange peel juices on to the blown up balloon. Wait a second and the balloon goes pop!
Orange peel has limonene in it, a chemical in the juice of orange peel. Limonene is the reason for the balloon to pop. Not just the balloon blast, it is also responsible for the refreshing fragrance that an orange produces as we peel one.
You may think’ why limonene’. Yes, limonene is a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons are nonpolar molecules and so limonene. How’s it going to cause a blast? Balloons are made of rubber and interestingly rubber is also a hydrocarbon and nonpolar too. Chemists say that nonpolar substances dissolve fine in another nonpolar substance.
When we spray limonene from the peel of an orange on the balloon, it causes the rubber to dissolve in limonene juice. Thus the surface of balloon thins down and the air pressure within the balloon pops out.