Outreach

A Polystyrene Model of Polystyrene Tacticity

Thin sheets of polystyrene can be patterned with permanent markers to represent repeating units of the polymer and then shrunk down in size using heat. The shrunken models of the repeating units can be connected with a string and then flipped into positions to demonstrate different types of polymer tacticity.

Soda Fountains from Aluminum Cans

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.

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.