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Jylliana
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 01:36
A science/chemistry show


Greetings fellow forum members :)

For my work and to attract new student to our school, I get to perform a chemistry show 4 times in one day. I know there are tons of good reactions and things to show for such a thing, almost too many to choose from, but I was wondering what you guys would really like for a crowd of 30 12-year-olds and their parents. Keep in mind that my audience usually has no to very little knowledge about chemistry, so the reactions need to be visual and kind of exciting/spectacular.
I don't want just explosions and fire and so on, I partly want to show that chemistry is more than blowing everything up.

What I've come up with so far:

- Letting conc. sulfuric acid burn a hole through a filter paper
- Hitting a tiny(safe) amount of Armstrong's Mix(red P with KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3) with a hammer(any sugesstions about what amount I could use?)
- Conc. sulfuric acid and sugar
- Cremating a gummybear with molten KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3
- Cobalt or manganese chameleon
- Nitric Acid and copper
- Oscillating/clock reaction
- Formation of lead(II) iodide from two colourless liquids(potassium iodide and and lead(II) nitrate).
- Showing why you should not try to put out an (frying) oil fire with water.
- pH indicators in nature(spraying a flower with ammonia solution, Hydrangeaceae/Hortensia maybe?).
- Making 'fireflies' with ammonium dichromate and conc. ammonia(maybe, still debating whether this may be too hazardous).
- Milk and cola(makes the fosfates in cola precipitate out)
- Creating ammonium chloride clouds by putting a beaker with conc. hydrochloric acid and conc. ammonia next to eachother).
- Fluorescein in UV-light.

Any more suggestions? Ideas on how to 'bring the message' to my audience?
I have to fill roughly 45minutes with the show.






[Edited on 15-12-2014 by Jylliana]

[Edited on 15-12-2014 by Jylliana]

[Edited on 15-12-2014 by Jylliana]




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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 02:32


I have written some pages on doing experiment with children. I have done these experiments with them and let some of these experiments do themselves.

http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/child/index_...
http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/child/index2...

These pages are in dutch (they are made for children, hence my choice to write them in dutch). For Jylliana this shoud be no problem. For all other members, a somewhat stripped down version of these two pages is available in english.

http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/child/index....

My favorite from these pages is the red cabbage experiment.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In your list of experiments I see two errors. Red phosphorus with KClO4 does not form Armstrongs mix and you will have a hard time getting that mix ignited with a hammer. You need a very heavy hammer and need to give a hard blow, not something you want to do inside.

You need KClO3 instead. When you use that, then the mix is INSANELY sensitive. You do not need a hammer, just using a little stick, or a glass rod and gently tapping the mix is enough to ignite it. Have a look at this webpage:

http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/raw_material...

BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THIS, USE THE SMALL AMOUNTS AS SHOWN IN THE WEBPAGE, NOT MORE!! Try this experiment yourself before doing it in front of an audience!


Another error I see in your list is the use of KClO4 with the gummy bear. Again, KClO4 will not work and is not sufficiently reactive to give a good result. You need to use KClO3 instead of KClO4. However, I advice against the KClO3/gummy bear experiment. KClO3 can, if overheated or if somewhat impure, decompose very violently, spraying around molten KClO3 and oxygen and I myself never took the risk of doing experiments with this in a test tube. What if the test tube with molten KClO3 breaks?? The experiment with the red P, as shown above, also is very nice and is a lot safer, because of the very small amounts used.

If you want another replacement demo for the gummy bear, then try this one:

http://woelen.homescience.net/science/chem/exps/chlorine_fla...

The kids will love it. Do this in a fume hood, because of the Cl2. Do not prepare the Cl2 with an open container of red P nearby and also keep the prepared mix away from the Cl2! Do not store the prepared mix for more than a few hours, make it just before your show and set it aside for immediate use in your show.

[Edited on 15-12-14 by woelen]




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Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 02:32


The elephant toothpaste is an oldie but a goodie - be sure to use a high concentration of H2O2 though and a narrow necked flask (volumetric is ideal) if you want the foam to spout up into the air. For a really good reaction, you may even want to warm up the peroxide first.

Generally though, you want to be doing large experiments - colour changes in a test tube just aren't going to hold a 12 year old's attention. This means that I think you can rule out nitric acid and copper, as well as sulfuric acid burning a paper towel.
However spraying a flower with ammonia solution sounds great, as does big clouds of NH4Cl. They might even get a whiff of ammonia if you do that, a real introduction into chemistry! The oil + water fireball could be spectacular however you can't do this inside, and doing it outside can be ruled out if there is much of a breeze, as the students could get covered in horrible greasy stuff.

One other thing that I have found to be particularly impressive is to ignite nitrocellulose on someones hand. You could get someone up from the audience and ignite it on their hand, I'm sure that would get a good reaction. If you can't make nitrocellulose though, a good substitute is to use an unlit propane lamp to blow bubbles on someones soapy hand, then ignite them.

And lastly, don't forget to try all the experiments before you show them to the children! The elephant toothpaste especially can be a flop unless it's prepared correctly.
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 02:32


Making NO2 is always good. Capturing the gas in two test tubes and putting one in ice and the other in warm water shows the NO2 / N2O4 equilibrium.
Also BaOH with NH4Cl solids stirred together in a beaker. You can stir with a temp probe and if you do it in a puddle of water on a block of wood you get the beaker frozen to the wood.

both ideas and many more from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti_E2ZKZpC4&
(Hope I got the link right using my phone. Search for "Chemical curiosities" if that doesn't work.)

I have a demo where water is electrlysed. Two electrodes inserted through the top of a coke bottle cap. A tube collects the gases. If you blow detergent bubbles in a water bath you get a very satisfying bang. [Edit- when ignited. Don'let too much foam build up. It can be a bit percussive on the ears. A set of ear muffs is a good idea for the person igniting it. This can be a student.]

Pure H2 can also make a nice detergent foam that burns quite safely on wet hands.

Hot copper held over a conc ammonia solution catalyses the reaction with O2 to form N2 and H2O. This is quite exothermic and is enough to melt the copper.

On the subject of copper and ammonia, that complex is too good to miss out.

Flame tests are always good. You can get some pretty colours burning in petri dishes in a darkened room.

Blowing flour or cornstarch into a bunsen flame really shows the effect of surace area. Fit a tube onto a funnel, fill with flour and blow.

Iodine and aluminium is a dramatic classic. Lots of purple vapour. Bromine Aluminium is good too. Depending on your budget.

Calcium carbide (1 gram) dropped into a 500ml conical flask half-filled with water produces a nice amount of acetylene. Let the gas build up for a while and touch the mouth with a lighted splint. Lovely whoosh sound and a room full of floating soot particles. Usually you are left with a flame dancing on top of the flask.

There's a couple of ideas.

[Edit. In the time it took me to write that there are a bunch of other great ideas.]

[Edited on 15-12-2014 by j_sum1]
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 02:49


and I have used liquid nitrogen with great effect with that age group. eg frozen flower/rubber tube/ball etc. cooling inflated balloon and it warms to reinflate again. splashing it on the floor.

the KI / PbNO3 reaction will also occur in solid phase. so carefully layer one on top of the other. shake and it changes colour.
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 08:14


any hands on experiments/demonstrations more along the lines of fluorescence/bioluminescence?
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 08:25


I just made fluorescein today. Tomorrow i'm going to try to write something with it and make it appear with my blacklight. If that doesn't work I'll just show it in a large beaker.
Bioluminescence is something i've never looked into. I'm open to suggestions.

Thanks for all the advice. I corrected the mistakes in my OP. I will definitely include a few demonstrations you have suggested.
I don't have acces to liquid nitrogen :(



[Edited on 15-12-2014 by Jylliana]




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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 09:21


The blue bottle demonstration is an interesting one, and it can easily be scaled up so that it's visible to a large crowd.
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 11:19


" barking dog" experiment is an oldie but fun one.

4 NO + CS2 → 2 N2 + CO2 + SO2 + 1/8 S8

Or the simpler version you could use 70% to 91% alcohol.

Could even use colorants like copper or boric acid.

Could even do multiple different % of alcohol to sure different rates of combustion.




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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 12:11


This is a great opportunity! I do science outreach for my job actually - we bring a science stage show to local elementary schools to show them cool stuff in chemistry, electricity, and physics. Your age group is just slightly older than ours, so our lineup would still be great for your event. Our show is also 45 minutes long. The chemistry experiments I do are:

- Chemical traffic light (a variation on the blue bottle)
- Elephant toothpaste (everyone's favorite)
- Glow stick reaction
- Sulfur hexafluoride's effect on the voice
- Barking Dog reaction

These make up about half the show. Let me know if you have any questions on these and I can send you detailed preparation and demonstration procedures.

Important points for such an event:
- The key for this age group is to keep it simple, flashy, and big.
- Keep in mind that, depending on how your room is set up, kids may excitedly run up to your table after the demos. For me, this rules out anything overly hazardous that they may pick up or knock over.
- Make sure your demo is easily visible to someone in the back of the room.
- Have an explanation ready that is simple enough for your audience to get the gist of.
- Your venue determines the experiments you can do. Small classroom (small demos ok) or large auditorium/cafeteria (small demos bad)? What sort of ventilation? Do you have a stage to physically separate you from your audience? Outdoors or indoors? If anything must be done outdoors, weather may affect or cancel your demos.
- Do your demos need the lights off? Do you have a helper that can control the lights for you?
- Be sure to have safety equipment and highlight its importance to the kids - goggles, gloves, lab coat. Also have a fire extinguisher for fires and any neutralization materials for spill control (baking soda for acids, vinegar for bases, etc.).

The main goal of our program is to get them interested in science by showing them cool stuff, so they will go back to their classroom and ask the teacher for more science. A link to our website: www.sciencebrothers.org


Some constructive criticism on your ideas:

- Letting conc. sulfuric acid burn a hole through a filter paper
>> Cool, but very small scale that will be hard to see from far away.

- Hitting a tiny(safe) amount of Armstrong's Mix(red P with KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3) with a hammer(any sugesstions about what amount I could use?)
>>A little unpredictable for my taste, but I don't have experience with this mix.

- Conc. sulfuric acid and sugar
>>Very cool, but produces a lot of steam and could spatter concentrated acid around. I wouldn't do this indoors.

- Cremating a gummybear with molten KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3
>>This is a big hit. Also produces lots of smoke and steam - must be done outside.

- Cobalt or manganese chameleon
>>Haven't actually heard of this one.

- Nitric Acid and copper
>>NOx fumes mean this must be done outside. Also this is likely too small scale.

- Oscillating/clock reaction
>>Great demo but tough to explain to kids. Also produces iodine vapor near the end which must be dealt with.

- Formation of lead(II) iodide from two colourless liquids(potassium iodide and and lead(II) nitrate).
>>Definite winner! High visibility and easy to explain. Be sure to quickly cap and hide away the toxic lead solution in case kids run up to your table.

- Showing why you should not try to put out an (frying) oil fire with water.
>>Sounds terribly dangerous with young kids around. Obviously this is an outside-only demo.

- pH indicators in nature(spraying a flower with ammonia solution, Hydrangeaceae/Hortensia maybe?).
>>Is the color change instantaneous? I thought this was more a slow change based on pH of the soil.

- Making 'fireflies' with ammonium dichromate and conc. ammonia(maybe, still debating whether this may be too hazardous).
>>Conc. ammonia fumes would be my only concern. These can fill up a room pretty quick.

- Milk and cola(makes the fosfates in cola precipitate out)
>>Great! Quick, easy to explain, and is something they can try at home.

- Creating ammonium chloride clouds by putting a beaker with conc. hydrochloric acid and conc. ammonia next to eachother).
>>Good as long as fumes are controlled and the lighting is right. They need to be able to see the wisps of smoke from the back of the room. Black backdrop and a spotlight would be a good idea.

- Fluorescein in UV-light.
>>Great! High visibility and another one they can try at home.



To highlight the importance of proper ventilation, I have an anecdote. We used to do the standard barking dog gardul mentions, but as you can see it produces SO2 as a product. This would almost always give the presenters headaches, since we are right next to it. At one show, these fumes wafted out into the audience and there were lots of coughing kids. I put a stop to that demo after that experience, until I could make it safer. We now use a little boric acid dissolved in methanol instead of CS2, which produces almost no fumes. Far safer for the audience, and much easier to clean the tube out afterward (no sulfur)!
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 12:56


Burn some steel wool in air using a battery. You can walk around and show it burning on a metal pan, and how it intensifies when waved gently through the air. Do it again inside an inverted glass aquarium filled with pure oxygen. There will be a brief and intensely white flame.

Burning magnesium ribbon is also neat, but do so behind an opaque screen, holding it up briefly for everyone to see. Be aware that this produces a good amount of MgO smoke and may not be suitable for small indoor rooms.

Nitrocellulose also makes a great demo. Burn sheets of well-nitrated tissue, string, or cotton wool, showing how your hand remains untouched. A cannon can be made from a steel plate and pipe, and will shoot a ping-pong ball violently with a standard size (~25mm) nitrated cotton ball as fuel and a bit of nitrated cotton string as a fast fuse. the ping pong ball loses velocity rapidly in air, so as long as you have about 10m to the nearest object, the ball will bounce harmlessly off the far wall. (Across the stage, NOT at the audience!)

There is the standard hydrogen balloon experiment. Make sure the ceiling is high enough, and that there are no fire sprinklers in the vicinity.

As an extension of the methanol "whoosh bottle" experiment, you can shoot plastic beverage bottles across the room with a bang if you make a launcher for them.





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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 13:43


how about you make nylon? its easy to draw into a thread, which is the same material half the kids clothing is made from.
nitric acid and ethanol makes an interesting time delayed reaction producing copious amounts of NO2 (outdoors)
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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 23:11


Quote: Originally posted by MrHomeScientist  
This is a great opportunity! I do science outreach for my job actually - we bring a science stage show to local elementary schools to show them cool stuff in chemistry, electricity, and physics. Your age group is just slightly older than ours, so our lineup would still be great for your event. Our show is also 45 minutes long. The chemistry experiments I do are:

- Chemical traffic light (a variation on the blue bottle)
- Elephant toothpaste (everyone's favorite)
And terribly messy. Not a problem for once, but 4 times a day is something to be taken into consideration.

- Glow stick reaction.
Good one. I'm not sure if I have the right chemicals for it, but I'll keep it in mind.
- Sulfur hexafluoride's effect on the voice
I don't have SF6, unfortunately. Otherwise I would've done it :)
- Barking Dog reaction
See below.

These make up about half the show. Let me know if you have any questions on these and I can send you detailed preparation and demonstration procedures.

Important points for such an event:
- The key for this age group is to keep it simple, flashy, and big.
- Keep in mind that, depending on how your room is set up, kids may excitedly run up to your table after the demos. For me, this rules out anything overly hazardous that they may pick up or knock over.
- Make sure your demo is easily visible to someone in the back of the room.
- Have an explanation ready that is simple enough for your audience to get the gist of.
- Your venue determines the experiments you can do. Small classroom (small demos ok) or large auditorium/cafeteria (small demos bad)? What sort of ventilation? Do you have a stage to physically separate you from your audience? Outdoors or indoors? If anything must be done outdoors, weather may affect or cancel your demos.
- Do your demos need the lights off? Do you have a helper that can control the lights for you?
- Be sure to have safety equipment and highlight its importance to the kids - goggles, gloves, lab coat. Also have a fire extinguisher for fires and any neutralization materials for spill control (baking soda for acids, vinegar for bases, etc.).

The main goal of our program is to get them interested in science by showing them cool stuff, so they will go back to their classroom and ask the teacher for more science. A link to our website: www.sciencebrothers.org
Thanks for the advice :) the classroom is of average size. Wider than it is deep. The ceiling is about 3m high and the space is roughly 10m wide and 8m deep. I'll think of spill control solutions. I didn't intend for the kids to actively participate in the show. I expect it to be more of a watch-only thing.


Some constructive criticism on your ideas:

- Letting conc. sulfuric acid burn a hole through a filter paper
>> Cool, but very small scale that will be hard to see from far away.

- Hitting a tiny(safe) amount of Armstrong's Mix(red P with KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3) with a hammer(any sugesstions about what amount I could use?)
>>A little unpredictable for my taste, but I don't have experience with this mix.
It's something I would love to try, especially the way someone showed me made an impression I won't forget for a while.

- Conc. sulfuric acid and sugar
>>Very cool, but produces a lot of steam and could spatter concentrated acid around. I wouldn't do this indoors.
Fumehood. I have a lot of space and a great working fumehood. I'll close the 'window' right after the H2SO4 is added.

- Cremating a gummybear with molten KClO4 - EDIT: KClO3
>>This is a big hit. Also produces lots of smoke and steam - must be done outside.
Fumehood + closed window as a safety shield.
- Cobalt or manganese chameleon
>>Haven't actually heard of this one.

- Nitric Acid and copper
>>NOx fumes mean this must be done outside. Also this is likely too small scale.
A 1liter beaker in a fumehood schould do the trick. I've done that before and the scale was good.

- Oscillating/clock reaction
>>Great demo but tough to explain to kids. Also produces iodine vapor near the end which must be dealt with.
Good point. Am going to think about this one.

- Formation of lead(II) iodide from two colourless liquids(potassium iodide and and lead(II) nitrate).
>>Definite winner! High visibility and easy to explain. Be sure to quickly cap and hide away the toxic lead solution in case kids run up to your table.
I don't expect they will, but I'll keep it in mind.

- Showing why you should not try to put out an (frying) oil fire with water.
>>Sounds terribly dangerous with young kids around. Obviously this is an outside-only demo.
Fumehood. Have done this one before on imo safe scale. There is a hazard, but not that much and I'll keep a special fire exinguisher close by.

- pH indicators in nature(spraying a flower with ammonia solution, Hydrangeaceae/Hortensia maybe?).
>>Is the color change instantaneous? I thought this was more a slow change based on pH of the soil.
This one I've never tried myself, but Steve Spangler on Youtube once showed an instant colour change on a flower. Unfortunately can't find the video anymore. It wasn't the one where he first dipped the flower in phenolphtalien.

- Making 'fireflies' with ammonium dichromate and conc. ammonia(maybe, still debating whether this may be too hazardous).
>>Conc. ammonia fumes would be my only concern. These can fill up a room pretty quick.
The carcinogenity of the hexavalent chromium is my biggest concern. Especially because the demo itself can be quite messy and if you're not careful you'll cover you fumehood with Cr(VI).

- Milk and cola(makes the fosfates in cola precipitate out)
>>Great! Quick, easy to explain, and is something they can try at home.

- Creating ammonium chloride clouds by putting a beaker with conc. hydrochloric acid and conc. ammonia next to eachother).
>>Good as long as fumes are controlled and the lighting is right. They need to be able to see the wisps of smoke from the back of the room. Black backdrop and a spotlight would be a good idea.
Doing this in a closed environment. A glass bell to be precise.

- Fluorescein in UV-light.
>>Great! High visibility and another one they can try at home.



To highlight the importance of proper ventilation, I have an anecdote. We used to do the standard barking dog gardul mentions, but as you can see it produces SO2 as a product. This would almost always give the presenters headaches, since we are right next to it. At one show, these fumes wafted out into the audience and there were lots of coughing kids. I put a stop to that demo after that experience, until I could make it safer. We now use a little boric acid dissolved in methanol instead of CS2, which produces almost no fumes. Far safer for the audience, and much easier to clean the tube out afterward (no sulfur)!
I don't have CS2 on hand, so it'll be done with methanol or ethanol. Probably with boric acid for the colour.


I just saw your show promo! Amazing! You're using a very different approach than I intended.
This is where I got my inspiration from. One of my former teachers and an awesome role model :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha61ApJMiTk
I made the video myself, so it's not so 'promo-y' as yours. It's just to give you an impression ;).






[Edited on 16-12-2014 by Jylliana]




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[*] posted on 15-12-2014 at 23:17


Thanks everyone for all the good advice and suggestions. I think I can make a nice 'show script' with it. Also it's nice to read about safety precautions or ways to show stuff to my audience in a way I hadn't thought of myself, yet.

:D




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[*] posted on 16-12-2014 at 00:08


If you haven't done so already, the chemical curiosities video I linked to is worth a look. The audience looked to be 8-12 year olds with parents. The script was great although probably pitched slightly high for the audience. I learned a lot from it particularly about presenting. There were a lot of good demos. You really see the value of an assistant and if you don't have one and are doing four shows a day you will want to consider practicalities. Reusable set ups and ease of cleaning will be vital. Also consider disposable containers etc.

Let us know how it goes.
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[*] posted on 16-12-2014 at 00:13


I watched the entire show, JSum. It was cool and I wrote down some of the demonstration that man did. It was a bit too much explanation for me and it was definitely designed to actually teach the kids something. Although learning things can be great, what I intend is more to show the chemistry and make them want to learn about it later at our school. Getting them excited about the subject.

[Edited on 16-12-2014 by Jylliana]




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[*] posted on 16-12-2014 at 04:35


I just watched the whole show too. I see that he did a nylon demo. :)
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[*] posted on 16-12-2014 at 07:27


Thanks, Jylliana! It's lots of fun. Those videos are a bit old and we should probably update them - our 'stage presence' is much better now and we have a new gigantic (~3 ft) tesla coil that plays music.

Since you're doing this in a science classroom, that makes things a lot easier. We have to restrict what we do because we travel, and never know where they'll have us set up. Access to a fume hood removes a lot of my concerns about the demos you want to do. Definitely do the gummy bear experiment! I always tell the kids that this is what happens in your stomach if you eat too much candy :)

The way I do elephant toothpaste is to put the peroxide in a tall 500mL plastic graduated cylinder, and put this in a wide, shallow Rubbermaid container to catch the foam. Adding the KI solution causes the foam to shoot straight up a couple feet, then fall back down into the plastic tub (usually). Makes cleanup pretty simple, if you have an assistant! Our formula is 125mL 35% H2O2 plus some liquid dish soap in the cylinder and ~13g KI dissolved in ~12mL H2O in a small beaker.

The old science show that we modeled ours on used to buy lots of regular glow sticks from the party supply store and carefully cut them open to gather the two liquids inside. They'd pour these into separate containers and combine during the show. Really tedious and time consuming, but it's an idea for you. We buy our chemicals direct from the manufacturer now.

Have someone take pictures or video!
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Jylliana
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[*] posted on 4-2-2015 at 09:58


I did my show today and it went great! Video to come!



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[*] posted on 4-2-2015 at 23:32


Can't wait to see it. :D



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[*] posted on 5-2-2015 at 00:41


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92RydZDDe_8
Video, with english subtitles :)


...funny that the show didn't end up with a single one of the ideas I opened this topic with :P

...also I had to cut it down to 15 minutes. The organizer thought 45 minutes was far too long.. :(

[Edited on 5-2-2015 by Jylliana]




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Shivachemist
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[*] posted on 5-2-2015 at 00:59


A good one Jylliana, thanks for sharing with us.
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[*] posted on 5-2-2015 at 11:26


Nice video!

I work with a campus group, SPARK, which is part of the ACS Student Affiliates.

Our show is organized as follows:

A play with a mad scientist, chemical superhero, and a confused principal who knows absolutely nothing about chemistry (I played the mad scientist last time because I have the best evil laugh :D) It has plenty of demos and audience participation.

Then we have demo tables that show different concepts in chemistry. At our last show we had pH, polymer formation, and supersaturation with sodium acetate.

We're going to be doing a show for 500-1000 kids in March, which we need to figure out how to organize.

Also, there will be a show tomorrow (I get to play the mad scientist again!) and one next week. The one next week may be structured more like Jylliana's show, as we're going to have the same type of audience.




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[*] posted on 7-12-2015 at 13:06


Yesterday I was misting some methanol into a gallon glass jug and lighting it to see what kind of whoosh it would make. It was a gallon jug such as this and I was using a finger pump sprayer on the mist setting. It makes a pretty good whoosh.
http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-18034/Jugs/Glass-Jugs-...
After that I decided to get out my platinum on alumina powder 1%. What happened next was quite impressive. I took the smallest amount of the talc-like gray powder and placed it on a small piece of aluminum foil. Then I sprinkled the dust into the top of the methanol vapored jug. For two or three seconds the particles floated down and into the jug glowing like a dozen or so red hot fireflies, seemingly weightless and twinkling in a most mesmerizing fashion. It reminded me of carbon particles burning. And then it happened, the most terrific bang occurred blasting the tiny piece of foil from my fingers like a bomb went off. Luckily the bottle didn't rupture but it was really impressive. It makes a big difference I guess if you light the jug from the inside instead of at the opening and maybe multiple ignitions points played a part as well. It was so sudden and deafeningly loud, from disarming fireflies to a flat out bomb. Not a hint of a rev up or pressure wave forming.
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[*] posted on 7-12-2015 at 13:30


when you demonstrate something to people a bang and ringing ears sticks in peoples minds and could spur them into a chemistry career. You will all crucify this but make 100mg of HMTD and show them how powerful chemistry really is. I'm 18 and HMTD made me interested in chemistry when I was 13, so I suspect it will work for others. Decomposition is a important reaction. if this is dumb just ignore it.



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