How to make an egg shell disappear without touching it?

We love egg experiments on Science Sparks. We have investigated air pressure using eggs, we have transformed egg whites, tested how strong an egg shell is, and shrunk them but today is this is the simpliest but most effective experiment involving eggs! How do you dissolve an eggshell?

You will need:

An egg

A glass

White vinegar


1. Take a raw egg and put it in a cup

dissolve an eggshell

Cover with White vinegar

2. Cover it with white vinegar (which is also known as acetic acid)

Q: What do you noticing happening?

A: You should see bubbles collect around the shell (a sign that a chemical reaction is taking place)

3. Leave for 4 to 5 days.

4. Go to observe.

dissolve an egg shell

See the residue collect and the shell come away?


How to get an egg yolk without cracking the shell - Science Sparks

The whole egg in tact!

dissolve an eggshell

I should not have tried lifting it out!


You should now be able to see shell residue in the vinegar and the yolk whole in the egg white. If you still see white resdiue on the egg you can rub this off lightly with you finger. I tried to lift the whole egg out of the vinegar but broke the membrane, but it is possible to lift it out whole.

The Science Bit

The acid has reacted with the shell and “eaten” away  at it. The shell is made up of calcium carbonate and this gets dissolves due to the acid.  The inside of the egg should still be intact because the vinegar doesn’t break down the egg membrane. The egg also swells up, because some of the liquid seeps inside it via osmosis. You should be able to see the yellow yolk through the membrane. It really is quite incredible.

You could compare what happens to a raw egg with a boiled egg as well.

Can you dissolve an eggshell?

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There are 57 comments

      1. Tara

        If you leave the egg for 48 hours then the shell is gone but the membrane is still entacted. The egg can be taken out & even bounces a little-not too much because it will break. My 4yr old daughter loved it.

    1. ScienceSparks

      Luckily we have not got any calcium carbonate to react with and it contain hydrochloric acid in it anyway to digest food, so it is used to acids. x

  1. Natalie

    This is a fun and simple experiment! I am going to do it here (while husband is away and doesn’t mind the egg floating around for 5 days). And now I am following your terrific site in Google reader.

  2. anne

    Thanks! Did this with my 5 & 3 year old. They loved to watch the shell dissolve, then handle the squishy egg. We extended the experiment, next soaking the egg in corn syrup (to draw out the water), then water tinted blue (which made the egg expand), then salt water (floating & dessicating). Finally broke it open to find a green yolk. We are starting it again this week — got to figure out what our soaking liquids will be.

  3. Susanne

    If you don’t want to smell the vinegar put the egg and vinegar in a Ziplock baggie. Then put the baggie in a clear glass. This way you can still see what is happening without the intense smell! 🙂

  4. Maggie Mills

    We did this with two eggs, one in colored vinegar and one in plain vinegar. We just covered each cup with plastic wrap and it didn’t smell at all. When we were done marveling over the results and playing with the eggs we took the colored one outside and exploded it so we could see how the white had actually absorbed all the color and our yolk was still nice and yellow. Excellent experiment!

  5. Jen

    We’ve tried it, left for 5 days, the shell dissolved but the membrane stayed. How do you make it dissolve too? When we cut the membrane, the egg white was very liquid (like water) and the yolk became like slightly boiled.

  6. Actually Mummy

    I loved this one! GGtook it into her class last year. It took nearly two weeks and absolutely reeked, but the kids were fascinated and GG was the coolest girl on the play ground! Glad it was Kerry’s x

  7. Brandy

    My daughter did this several years ago. We soaked the egg in vinegar for over a week. The egg membrane did not break when taken out of the vinegar. In fact, we could lightly bounce it on the table.
    The reverse osmosis would be to take that naked vinegar soaked egg and submerge it in corn syrup for a couple of days. The end result will be an empty egg because all the liquid is pulled out of it. You can repeat this process over and over. Really is pretty neat.

    1. Brandy

      I will add that she did this for a science fair project. She won 1st place in her school and 2nd place in the whole county.

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