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Tom Kuntzleman's picture

How Does an Orange Peel Pop a Balloon? Chemistry, of Course!

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 15:15 -- Tom Kuntzleman

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.

Bob Worley's picture

Why do we have to do chemical equations and calculations?

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 15:51 -- Bob Worley
Fe & Sulfur reaction

(A look at workplace exposure limits found in MSDS sheets)

There is useful information in section 8 of a (Material) Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that teachers can use and shows how a knowledge of chemical equations and calculations helps protect the health of their students and themselves and helps to assure their employers and safety officers that teachers and lecturers are responsible and professional users of chemicals. 

Deanna Cullen's picture

Opportunities For Chemistry Modeling Training

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 18:02 -- Deanna Cullen
modeling training

The Modeling™ curriculum emphasizes modeling, collecting evidence, scientific discourse and development of conceptual understanding. All of these can be linked to AP and NGSS standards. If you are looking to make improvements in your curriculum and gain some impressive strategies, consider enrolling in a workshop this summer. There are many workshops scheduled around the country during the summer. A full curriculum and support materials are provided.


Tom Kuntzleman's picture

Chemical Mystery #4: The Case of the Misbehaving Balloon

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 11:19 -- Tom Kuntzleman

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.

Erica K. Jacobsen's picture

Sowing the Seeds of Science

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 15:26 -- Erica K. Jacobsen

“On the third day of Christmas, my mailman brought to me… three gardening catalogs.” Jumping the gun? Or marketing genius? The doldrums after the holiday were a perfect time for these pages with their promise of spring. Their arrival kicked off an evening of grand plans. Somewhere along the line, chemistry crept in.

Tom Kuntzleman's picture

A Chemist Celebrates the International Year of Light

Thu, 01/08/2015 - 13:43 -- Tom Kuntzleman
How to make a better glow stick

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. 

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