December 31, 2016

Bunsen Burner (THERMAL IMAGING) - Periodic Table of Videos

I do, admittedly, wish that this video was made with a Tirrill burner because that's what we use in my classroom, but the idea certainly works as though it were a Tirrill burner.

Bunsen burners work about the same, but the Tirrill burner gets a better mixing of the oxygen and methane and has a dial valve at the bottom to adjust the methane coming into the burner. (Admittedly I tell my students not to touch that valve because I've had two incidents where that fell out and caused a large - and thankfully momentary - fireball when the gas came into contact with the air.)

I love the show of the hottest areas of the flame in this video as well as the conductivity of the heat up the glass rod.

December 13, 2016

So, Someone Dumped 160 Liters Of Hydrogen Peroxide In 2 Olympic Pools

FoundOutAboutChemistry, your source for timely news in the sports world.

So, this past summer...

...the diving well in the Rio Olympic pool turned bright green.

You may not be aware, but that's not the color that diving well water is supposed to be.

Unless it's St Pat's Day.

Luckily, we know it's all because somebody dumped hydrogen peroxide into the pool.


That's enough to clean up a whole bunch of paper cuts...or to kill the chlorine's ability to destroy organic matter, yielding a pool that 'smells like a fart.'

December 9, 2016

Best Fire Tornado - DIY - no moving parts!

I've made fire tornados before.

I've posted about them, too.

But those required a bunch of fans or a lazy susan.

This one is even lazier.

It requires some glass cutting and not much more.

Don't refill your methanol container even remotely when it's hot...or warm.

Be safe, folks.

December 7, 2016

Don't Flush Sodium Down a Toilet

Hopefully this goes without saying, but don't flush sodium down a toilet.

Don't think about it. Don't do it. Don't think about doing it.

Don't think about thinking about doing it.

See, sodium reacts like all alkali metals do with water.

They react to produce hydrogen gas and metal hydroxides. In the process, there's energy released that sometimes...sort of...sparks the hydrogen.

Which makes an explosion.

Destroying the toilet.

It's one thing, of course, if you do that to a toilet mounted on a platform in a parking lot.

Because that's where I keep my toilets.

December 5, 2016

The Transfermium Wars

We live in a time of wonders.

In my lifetime, the periodic table has grown by a dozen elements, all of which are synthetically produced.

In my father's lifetime, we've added twenty elements - all synthetically produced.

That means we've figured out how to take atoms, accelerate them to nearly the speed of light (source) and ram them into other atoms, creating matter that didn't exist until that very moment.

All so we can yell at each other about who did it first...about whose name needs to go on the discovery for the ultimate chemistry prize - having an element named after you. That's the basic story of the Transfermium Wars, the fights for naming primacy for elements 104 through 109.

I would sacrifice nearly everything in my world for the opportunity to put Duschium all over the periodic tables of the world.

I would gut you for that chance.

You think I'm joking?

November 9, 2016

Watch the Diesel effect in ballistic gelatin

I've never heard of, but their video showing the explosion of vaporized ballistics gelatin heated up due to the Diesel effect is pretty awesome.

There's full detail below (taken from their article), but the basics is that a bullet vaporizes some of the gel (made of combustable material). That gas expands then quickly collapses. As the volume of a gas decreases rapidly, the pressure increases. As the pressure increases, the temperature rises drastically...resulting in the above ballistic fart.

Ballistic gel is a broad term referring to a large chunk of dense gel generally used in firearms-related testing to reliably and consistently measure things like bullet deformation, fragmentation, and impact. It’s tough, elastic, and in many ways resembles a gigantic gummi bear. Fans of Mythbusters (or certain DIY railguns) will recognize the stuff. Water-based blocks made with natural gelatin can be easily made at home, but end up with a yellow-brown color and have a limited shelf life due to evaporation. Clear blocks exist that are oil-based and don’t dry out like the water-based ones. It’s one of these that is in the embedded animation [above].

Slow motion video capture is a natural companion to just about anything that you’d need ballistic gel for, and good thing — because the video captured what appears to be a diesel effect! The block is hit with a bullet, and as the bullet rapidly expands and dumps its energy into the gel, a cavity expands rapidly. During this process, some of the (oil-based) material in the cavity has been vaporized. After the expanded bullet exits (to the right of the gif above but easier to see in the video below), the cavity in the block begins to collapse. The resulting pressure increase appears to ignite the vaporized material, which explodes with a flash followed by some exhaust.
How cool is that?

October 16, 2016

Periodic graphics: the compositions of US coins

Thanks, Compound Interest.

And thanks, ACS for working with Andy Brunning (of the aforementioned Compound Interest) to produce this great, visual guide to the metals in US coinage.

That non-pure copper penny can make for some great lab experiments.

Then again, so can the pure copper.