The floating soap bubble is an impressive experiment that is surprisingly easy to carry out.
This timely post is a perfect fit for the theme of Chemists Celebrate Earth Week 2023! Algae is a rich topic with many possible connections to the chemistry classroom. Algae needs to take in light, carbon dioxide, and various simple nutrients and, though it can sometimes get out of control, can produce oxygen, diatomaceous earth, and other products. It can even fluoresce pink!
Polystyrene foam sticks with a square or rectangular profile will not fit into a round target hole (e.g., the opening of a soda bottle) at room temperature. However, they do contract sufficiently in contact with liquid nitrogen to fit into the hole and produce a simple demonstration of Charles’s Law. Many other polymer foams do not shrink under these conditions, but still provide opportunities to discuss and explore their structure and chemistry.
Why does the "Whoosh Bottle" experiment behave differently at different temperatures?
Balloons that inflate using carbon dioxide produced from the reaction of citric acid and sodium hydrogen carbonate can be used to demonstrate a number of aspects of chemistry. Gas laws were used with the balloons to illustrate limiting reactants, molar mass of gases, and rockets. The endothermic reaction in the balloon was visualized with an infrared camera, and the Green Chemistry aspects of these balloons were considered.
This blog post includes short descriptions of demonstrations and props that Dean Campbell has used while teaching his collegiate General Chemistry I course.
Chad Husting uses a few simple gas law experiments to introduce his students to the particulate level of chemistry.
The familiar soda fountains that can be produced by adding Mentos candies to plastic bottles of carbonated beverages can also be produced by adding objects to carbonated beverages in aluminum cans. A variety of simple methods for producing soda fountains from cans are described.
Allowing students to confront the failure of a model and then helping them construct a new or slightly modified model to account for new observations is at the heart of the process of science. Ben Meacham shares one approach that can be deployed with a variation of depth, making it attainable for anyone learning about chemistry.
The demonstration where CO2 is generated and used to snuff out a candle in an aquarium or other container is well known. This article describes a dramatic variation on these demonstrations that allows for discussion of such topics as the ideal gas law, densities of different gases, gas density changes with temperature, miscibility, and viscosity. The device described is easily and inexpensively produced and stored. The demonstration is large scale and works well for classrooms and community outreach events.