Demonstrations

Effect of Temperature on Chemical Equilibrium using Copper Complexes

This post describes a simple way to generate blue, green, orange, and yellow copper complexes, and to use these complexes to introduce students to the effect of temperature on chemical equilibria. The protcol avoids the use of caustic agents, allowing the experiments to be conducted by students as a laboratory-based investigation.

Photochromic glue and spring decorations

The many colors of springtime can be illustrated with photochromic pigments in commercial products. These products include UV beads, and more recently, photochromic glue. The glue can be used as a photochromic paint for paper or even eggs. The resulting colorful, decorative objects can be used to illustrate chemical discussions of aspects of photochemistry.

The Carbon Dioxide Spiral Staircase

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. 

Bubbly BBs and Vaccinated Mentos: Chemical Illustrations to Promote Public Health Measures

The authors revisit "flattening the curve" demonstrations published during 2020 to see how they could represent the impact of vaccinations on the COVID 19 battlefront. These demonstrations do not demonstrate the mechanisms of vaccines themselves, but are rather analogies to their potential effect on a population. In these analogies, gas production still represents illness, but this time people are represented by objects added to the solutions which either enable gas production (unvaccinated individuals) or do not enable gas production (vaccinated individuals). These simple experiments are best used as stand-alone demonstrations, and links to videos are included in this writeup.

Organic Chemistry and Tree Fruit: The Control of Ethylene-Induced Ripening of Fruit in Cold Storage Warehouses

Ethylene, C2H4, a volatile plant hormone stimulates fruit ripening and is also released during ripening. This post explains the role of ethylene in ripening and presents how the chemical identity of the ethylene scavenger used to suppress premature ripening during storage was determined.