Outreach

Solar Eclipse Trip Recap

A trip to see the 2024 solar eclipse provided the opportunity to explore ideas associated with sulfur in petroleum, sunlight intensity measurements, laser interference patterns from eclipse glasses, and large-scale light emission from excited hydrogen.

Upgrading a Classic Science Demonstration

In a classic demonstration of energy conservation, smashing two large steel ball bearings generates sufficient heat to burn a hole through a piece of paper. Josh Kenney found this demonstration underwhelming because the paper doesn't look burned. So, he upgraded the experiment by covering the paper in Elmer's Color Changing Glue. Now, a spectacular color change reveals the increase in heat!

The BCE (“Best Class EVER”) - Dry Ice Day

That it was the "Best Class EVER" seems to be the common refrain every year by most every one of Yvonne Clifford's students over the past 30 years after the Dry Ice Day. This is an engaging chemical to bring to the chemistry classroom or an outreach event because many concepts can be applied and it affords a great deal of fun and excitement! 

The Pumpkinator

This Pumpkinator is a fantastic orange-to-blue-to-orange chemical reaction that will make a great addition to your Halloween-themed chemistry demonstrations.

A Visit to Natural Fiber Welding: Demonstrating Green Chemistry in Action

The theme to the 2022 National Chemistry Week, observed October 16-22, is “Fabulous Fibers: The Chemistry of Fabrics”. A visit to Natural Fiber Welding, Inc. in Peoria, IL, revealed how that company is using ionic liquids to solvent weld cellulose fibers together to produce more durable yarn which can then be made into more durable fabric. The production method and “greenness” of the product is discussed, from the cellulose itself to the recycling of the solution used in the welding process. Macroscopic demonstrations of the fiber solvent welding process are also described.