Tom Kuntzleman's blog

Ice Clouds 2.0

What is some of the chemistry involved in the formation of ice clouds when boiling water is thrown into icy air?

Drinking Dinosaur Pee?!

It has been claimed that because all water ultimately ends up in the water cycle, we drink water that the dinosaurs peed out. What does chemistry have to say about this assertion?

Burning paper towels soaked in various metal nitrates

Igniting paper towels that have been soaked in concentrated potassium nitrate and allowed to dry yields a flame reminiscent of that produced by guncotton. Repeating this experiment with other metal nitrates produces flames with different colors, plus a few other chemical surprises! This series of experiments is fascinating and connects to a wide variety of chemical topics including combustion, redox reactions, chemical thermodynamics, and flame tests. You don't want to miss this one!

Seashell Chemistry

Placing dry ice in limewater is a great demonstration to accompany discussions on a variety of chemical topics, including the impact of ocean acidification on marine organisms that depend upon the formation of CaCO3.