The “Elephant Toothpaste” experiment is a very popular, albeit messy chemistry demonstration. To carry out this experiment, place a 250 mL graduated cylinder on something that you wouldn’t mind getting messy. Next, add 75 – 100 mL of 30% hyd
The juice from an orange peel causes a balloon to pop. When I first saw this effect I immediately thought to myself, “what is the chemistry involved in this experiment?” After quickly searching the web, I found several claims that a compound in orange peels called limonene (Figure 1) is responsible for this effect. Limonene is a hydrocarbon, which means that molecules of limonene are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. Limonene is responsible for the wonderful smell of oranges, and it is a liquid at room temperature.
A fun experiment to conduct when discussing phase diagrams is the melting of solid carbon dioxide (dry ice). To perform this experiment, place small pieces of dry ice (carbon dioxide) in a plastic pipette, seal with a pair of pliers, and position the bulb of the sealed pipette in a beaker of
Last year I came across a link on Twitter regarding an art installation by Roger Hiorns in England titled “Seizure.” Some of you may have seen it too – a condemned flat in London was essentially sealed off and filled with more than 75,000 L of supersaturated copper sulfate solution.
Did any of you guess what was going on in Chemical Mystery #4: The Case of the Misbehaving Balloon? In this experiment, several balloons were placed in liquid nitrogen. Most of these balloons shrunk tr
Conducting experiments with liquid nitrogen experiments is a sure-fire way to energize many chemistry lessons. Unfortunately, getting access to liquid nitrogen can be a bit difficult. I happen to purchase liquid nitrogen from Airgas; you might be able to find a branch near you here.
At my school in Michigan, the second semester just started this week. And, since all chemistry classes (except for IB Chemistry) are semester courses, I have new students and different preps.
Happy New Year! For many, the beginning of a new year involves creating resolutions. And, hopefully not quitting them! Something I have resolved to do is modify the presentation and submission of lab reports.
The “bucket launch” is a fantastic experiment you can do if you have access to liquid nitrogen. Depending upon conditions, we have observed the bucket to launch anywhere from 80 to 160 feet high. See the video.
Happy New Year! Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of Light (IYL)? IYL is a “global initiative adopted by the United Nations to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health1”. IYL is sponsored by several organizations with interests in science and science education, including the European Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the American Institute of Physics. You can find several lesson plans, videos and other educational resources on the IYL website2.