Chemistry

Using dry ice to blow up a balloon

Blow up a balloon with solid carbon dioxide Most substances have three states – solid, liquid, and gas. When they go from a solid to a gas, they usually turn into a liquid in between. Ice is a good example. It first melts into a liquid and then evaporates into a gas. Sublimation is when a chemical compound turns from a solid to a gas without turning into a liquid in between. Solid Carbon dioxide (or dry ice) and iodine are two compounds that sublime. When dry ice sublimes, it turns directly into carbon dioxide gas which expands in the process. Therefore, we can take dry ice, let it sublime into a gas, and use the gas to blow up a balloon. Follow these steps:…
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Chemistry

Ultra Cold LN2 Replacement

Ultra Cold LN2 Replacement that will instantly freeze anything! NOTE: THIS EXPERIMENT IS HIGHLY HAZARDOUS AND CAN RESULT IN INJURY OR DEATH. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE CONDUCTED BY CHILDREN BUT RATHER, SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BY SICENCE TEACHERS ONLY! Liquid nitrogen, represented by the equation LN2, is often used in higher level science experiments. In this experiment, we’ll create a liquid with the same “ultra cold” properties found in liquid nitrogen. You’ll need two plastic bottles, one slightly smaller than the other. Cut the tops off of both bottles. Cut a few inches down so all of the curved neck of the bottle is removed. In the smaller bottle poke a bunch of holes in the sides and bottom of the bottle. Now place…
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Chemistry

Strange acting goop

Making Oobleck, the strange goop with amazing properties Ever had a hot, steaming cup of Oobleckh? Geez, I hope not. The stuff is nasty! But it does exhibit some interesting Put one and one half (1 1/2) cup of cornstarch into the bowl. Add one cup of water. Mix well. Slowly dip your finger into the gooey mixture. Feels liquidy? Grab some in your hand and pour it back into the bowl. Now, try slapping it hard with your hand or a heavy spoon. What happens? Why? The molecules in ooblekh (sometimes spelled oobleck) are very large compared to, for instance, molecules of water. When slapped quickly, they tangle themselves up preventing any splattering. In this way the mixture behaves more like a solid.  When…
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Chemistry

Steel Wool Generating Heat experiment

Using vinegar to heat up steel wool Chemical reactions occur every day all around us. A chemical reaction is a process where one type of substance is chemically converted to another substance. That fizzling toilet bowl cleaner is a chemical reaction. The fire in your fireplace is another type of chemical reaction. The smoke that comes out of Dad's ears when you lose one of his favorite golf clubs is a result of a chemical reaction. OK, so maybe that's a bad example. This experiment demonstrates a chemical reaction that's fairly common all around us (and we don't have to touch Dad's golf clubs to make this one work). Put the thermometer in the jar and close the lid. Wait about 5 minutes and write…
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Chemistry

Spineless potatoes

Osmosis in the cosmosis In this science experiment we will introduce you to a principle called osmosis. Using simple household items we will demonstrate what osmosis is and how it works. Fill both of the dishes with water. Slice the potato lengthwise into several pieces that each have two flat sides (get Mom or Dad to help you with this step). Add about two tablespoons of salt to one of the dishes. Put half of the pieces in the dish that contains plain water. Put the other half of the pieces in the dish that contains the salt water. Let the potatoes soak for 20 minutes.  If Dad assisted on step 2 then this would be a good time to go fetch the Band-Aids and…
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Chemistry

Silly Putty or slime experiment (your choice)

Fine times with homemade slime (or silly putty if we tweak it up a bit) At some point you may have heard someone speak of “polymers”. A polymer is a large molecule that is made of repeating structural units. These units are connected by what is called a covalent chemical bond. A well known polymer is “plastic”. In this experiment, we will make a polymer and then add a substance that will cause the polymer chains to cross link. Cross links are bonds that link one polymer chain to another. When the polymer chains are more “bound together”, they become harder to move around and begin to gel. In a bowl, mix an equal quantity of Elmer’s glue and water. Fill a jar with a…
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Chemistry

Recycling Newspaper

Recycling Newspaper Everyone knows recycling is good for our environment but do you know how the recycling process is actually done? In this experiment, we'll recycle a newspaper into nice, neat little sheets of fresh paper. Gather up several sheets of old newspaper.  If you're having trouble finding suitable newspaper, check Dad's bathroom (leave the sports pages and he’ll never notice it is missing). Take the newspaper and tear it into little pieces. Place the pieces of paper in a blender. Add hot water and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Turn on the blender and blend the paper mixture up real well. Bend the coat hanger to form a somewhat round loop. Cover the hanger loop with an old nylon stocking.  This…
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Chemistry

Invisible ink

Make your own invisible ink Invisible ink has been used by spies for centuries. At the time of the Revolutionary War, invisible ink made of a mixture of ferrous sulfate and water was commonly used. The secret messages were often written in between the lines of a normal letter. When heat or a special chemical (such as sodium carbonate) were applied, the message that was placed in between the lines would appear. In modern times, inks containing special properties are used and require viewing under ultraviolet (UV) light to see the message. Put some lemon juice in a bowl and mix with a few drops of water Wet a cotton ball and use it to write a message on a blank piece of white paper…
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Chemistry

Homemade fire extinguisher experiment

Homemade fire extinguisher Most people have fire extinguishers in their homes and in fact, we even place extra ones in the garage where Dad hangs out.  All schools and businesses are required by law to have fire extinguishers on their premises. Fire extinguishers work by removing one of the critical ingredients for a fire - oxygen. In this experiment we demonstrate this process. Fill the small dish with baking soda. Place a short candle and a slightly longer candle upright in the baking soda Place the dish into the bottom of the large bowl. Have Mom or Dad light both candles.  If Dad's handling the matches then go get that fire extinguisher out of the garage first. Pour the vinegar into the dish of baking…
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Chemistry

Burning through Money experiment (or is it a magic trick?)

Burning through Money In this experiment, we’ll freak Dad out by setting a five-dollar bill on fire and laughing madly as it burns. The flames will mysteriously snuff themselves out and the five-dollar bill will be left unharmed. Hmmmm… Is this science or magic? Well, given the name of this website we all know that it is pure science but we’ll tell Dad it’s magic just to see his eyes go big. Oh yeah, and we’ll tell you how to make $20 extra dollars in the deal too… Before we begin, ask your Dad for a five-dollar bill and a twenty-dollar bill. Tell him the twenty-dollar bill is insurance to ensure the five-dollar bill does not get harmed. Tuck the twenty-dollar bill into your pocket. If Dad…
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