Monday 12 January 2015

Science: Bendy Bones!

This is a really fun experiment that's simple, safe and cheap to try at home...

It is also a great way to demonstrate how bones are so tough!

You will need: 

  • A bone - we used a chicken bone
  • Vinegar
  • A jar with a lid (make sure it's big enough to fit your chicken bone!)
This is all you need to do...


Make some yummy chicken thighs and eat the chicken, saving the bones.


Clean the bones really well.  It is important to make sure all the flesh is off the bone and washed well too.  I would recommend using a spoon or a knife to scrape away the flesh.


Play with the bone.  Talk about how hard it is.  How difficult it is to bend.  Like human bones Chicken bones also have calcium in them which makes them so hard!  But how?  Carry on with this experiment and you will see...


Put your bone into your jar and fill the jar with vinegar so the bone is completely immersed. Screw the lid on (this is optional and only used to stop your house smelling like vinegar).


Leave your bone to soak for at  a week!

Check the bone.  Is it still hard?  Nope!  It's all bendy!

Why does this happen? 

Bones are made up of connective tissue that is reinforced with calcium and specialised bone cells. These cells inside the bone are called Osteocytes.  Most bones also contain bone marrow which is where blood cells are made.

It is the Calcium inside the bones that react with the vinegar in the jar.  Even though vinegar is a mild acid, it is strong enough to erode the calcium in the bones, once it does the rods and plates structures once formed by the calcium are no longer and the bone is bendy. 

Again, like in my post: Strong Bones, this experiment demonstrates how the structure of the bone inside is when makes them so strong.  Yet light.

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