American Girl Doll Chemistry

In my 11th grade chemistry class, we've been studying chemical reactions for the past month, but today while working on a project, I had an AG-related chemistry realization.

It is a known secret that to get marks off of your American Girl doll, you use a combined form of baking soda and water. But I didn't realize that the baking soda and water combining was a chemical reaction... until today.

Baking soda is a chemical compound, known as sodium bicarbonate. The formula of it is NaHCO₃. Water is known as H2O, but everyone knows that.

So when you combine baking soda and water, or do NaHCO^3 + H2O, you get NaOH + H2C03, also known as sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid. The sodium hydroxide and carbonic acid then reacts with the vinyl that the doll's limbs and head are made of, (C2H3Cl)n, or polyvinyl chloride. Polyvinyl chloride is resistant to acids like carbonic acid, and sodium hydroxide has been reported as safe to use on polyvinyl chloride pipes. So the chemical reaction produces a substance we can use to clean our dolls!

I apologize in advance for my blog readers who haven't taken high school chemistry yet. I hope I explained it well... and get extra credit for this post. (Just kidding. But I could use extra credit.)

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