Chemical demonstrations that are amusing or impressive to watch.
- 1 Energetic materials
- 2 Color changes
- 3 Light emission
- 4 Miscellaneous
- 5 Alkali metals
Explosive decomposition of Para-nitroaniline
Mercury thiocyanate ("Pharaoh's snake")
Mercury(II) thiocyanate burns forming residues looking like tentacles growing from the ground.
Ammonium dichromate ("Volcano")
When ammonium dichromate burns, it looks like an erupting volcano.
Iodine and aluminium
Very pronounced and rapid color changes repeating again and again and again.
Iodine clock reaction
Colorless solutions becoming deep blue/black almost instantaniously after a small delay.
5 vivid color changes in a row while the reaction passes through the many different oxidation states of manganese.
Fluorescent pH indicator
Pyranine, present in highlighter fluid, will fluoresce different colors in different levels of acidity.
Sugar will emit ultraviolet light when crushed. When a fluorescent dye such as methyl salicylate is used, the fluorescence is made much brighter.
The rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide with a catalyst (usually potassium iodide or yeast) in soapy water generates a huge amount of hot foam due to oxygen generation.
Materials needed: granular sugar and concentrated (98%) sulfuric acid, acid resistant gloves
Procedure: Pour concentrated sulfuric acid directly onto sugar.
Result: a tower of porous carbon forms after a delay period.
In the presence of water
Lithium will effervesce strongly
Sodium will do so more strongly and may catch fire
Potassium catches fire
Rubidium and cesium will explode.