Q. How do you remove an eggshell without cracking the shell?
A. You can dissolve the shell with vinegar
We modified the Naked Eggs experiment from the Science of Eggs at The Accidental Scientist
- white vinegar
- an egg
- a glass container
1. Fill the glass container with vinegar
2. Carefully add the egg.
3. What do you observe?
Right away you can see bubbles forming on the egg. This is a chemical reaction that takes place between vinegar and the egg shell. You might also notice that your egg starts to float.
As the bubbles are being formed on the surface of the shell, it makes the egg buoyant, so it begins to float.
5. In about a week, you’ll have a shell-less egg. It still retains the membrane, and you can handle it, but it is rubbery to the touch and translucent.
When you look through the egg with a light source behind it, you can see the yolk and some of the egg white (albumin) of the egg.
What is happening?
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which breaks apart the solid calcium carbonate crystals that make up the eggshell into their calcium and carbonate parts. The calcium ions float free (calcium ions are atoms that are missing electrons), while the carbonate goes to make carbon dioxide—the bubbles that you see.
What’s inside an egg?
I borrowed this image from Eggs.org.au