15 Awesome Chemistry Experiments

You don’t need to watch Breaking Bad to know that chemistry is pretty awesome. Below we explore our favorite 15 chemistry GIFs.

Melting Metal With Magnets

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The Science: The copper wire has a significant amount of AC electricity running through it, causing it to act like a really strong electromagnet. In the metal slug, eddy currents form due to the magnetic field the copper wire is causing while the copper wire has high frequency AC flowing through it. The metal slug’s electric resistance causes a portion of the electric energy to turn into heat, but the heat builds up until the metal slug becomes white hot and melts.

 

Orange LED Light In Liquid Nitrogen

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The Science: When an LED is immersed in liquid nitrogen, the electrons lose a lot of thermal energy, even when the light isn’t turned on. When this happens, the bandgap in the semiconductors increases. Since this gap is increased, when electrons in the conduction band fall to the valence band, they emit a higher energy light, meaning the light emitted has a shorter wavelength and a higher frequency. This is why we see the orange light turn into colours that are higher on the electromagnetic spectrum when it is frozen in the liquid nitrogen.

 

Heating Mercury Thiocyanate 

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The Science: It is an inorganic chemical compound, the salt of Hg2+ and the thiocyanate anion. It is a stable solid at room temperature that has the appearance of white powder with chunks; it can also be grey in color, depending on purity. It will produce a large, winding “snake” when set on fire. This is known as the Pharaoh’s Serpent.[2] Though some people still use it for this purpose, it is generally avoided because of the production of toxic gases when this reaction occurs.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide Catalyzed by Potassium Iodide

Hydrogen Peroxide Catalyzed by Potassium Iodide [x-post /r/chemicalreactiongifs]

The Science: It is a foamy substance caused by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. This is often used for classroom demonstrations because it requires only a small amount of ingredients and makes a “volcano of foam”. This is also known as the “Marshmallow Experiment” in some cases, but should not be confused with the psychological Stanford marshmallow experiment.

 

Liquid Nitrogen Mixed With 1500 Ping Pong Balls 

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The Science: After a few moments of suspense, the action happens. The event results from the pressure in the tightly sealed container of liquid nitrogen. Lowry explains: “The liquid [nitrogen] will turn into gas, and the pressure will build up and up and up.”

 

Burning Magnesium In Dry Ice 

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The Science: Magnesium’s reaction with carbon dioxide is a dramatic and beautiful demonstration to show that oxygen isn’t always a prerequisite for fire and to reveal carbon’s place in the reactivity series.

 

Hydrophobic Sand Placed Underwater

Hydrophobic Sand Placed Underwater

The Science: Hydrophobic Sand or “Magic Sand” begins as normal looking sand, until it’s dyed and coated with a substance that repels water.  This coating keeps the sand dry even after it has been dumped into a container of water.

 

Putting Out Candles With Carbon Dioxide 

Putting out candles with Carbon Dioxide.

The Science:  When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you produce carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is heavier than air, so it will sit in the bottom of the glass. When you pour the gas from glass onto the candle, you are pouring out the carbon dioxide, which will sink and replace the (oxygen-containing) air surrounding the candle with carbon dioxide. This suffocates the flame and it goes out.

Deflecting A Water Stream With A Charged Rod  

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The Science: A stream of water contains polar water molecules. One side (hydrogen side) has a slightly positive charge. The oxygen side has a slightly negative charge. So if a charged rod is brought close to the stream, the water will be attracted to it. If the rod is positively charged, the slightly negative side of the water molecule will be attracted toward the rod. Likewise, if a negatively charged rod is brought close to it, the hydrogen side will be attracted to the rod and the oxygen side will be “repelled.” In both cases the water stream will be attracted to the charged rod.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide Mixed With Potassium Iodide

The Science: This experiment is often used as a fun science demo for kids…It is called “Elephant’s Toothpaste.” Hydrogen peroxide is catalytically decomposed by the potasium iodide. By the idodide ion, actually. Oxygen gas is rapidly formed. You put a squirt of dish soap and a drop of food coloring into 50 mL of 30% hydrogen peroxide… Then when you add 1 or 2 grams of potassium iodide… the released oxygen gas is trapped in soap bubbles… you get a huge amount of foamy suds!!! The reaction sequence is as follows:

H202 (aq) + I- (aq) –> H20 (l) + OI- (aq)

H202 (aq) + OI- (aq) –> H20 (l) + O2 (g) + I- (aq)

The iodide ion is not consumed by the reaction, therefore it is a CATALYST.

Explosive Polymerization of p Nitro Aniline 

The Science: Spontaneous explosive Polymerization of p Nitro Aniline using dehydration using concentrated sulphuric acid.

 

Flammable Gas Lit In A Glass Jar

 

Sodium Polyacrylate Mixed With Water 

Sodium Polyacrylate Mixed With Water

The Science:  Sodium polyacrylate acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture. When mixed with water, the compound actually turns into a solid gel. Once the sodium polyacrylate forms a gel, the water is no longer liquid and can’t pour out. Technically, the particles in sodium polyacrylate have a property known as being hygroscopic, which means that they absorb and hold water. Of course, this property is the reason why the compound is used in baby diapers to absorb moisture and keep babies dry and comfortable.

 

Electrical Discharge

The Science: Called Electric Treeing, the GIF above shows an electrical pre-breakdown phenomenon where due to partial discharges and progresses through the stressed dielectric insulation, electricity takes a path resembling the branches of a tree.

 

Lithium On Fire

The Science: The main reaction going on here is 4Li + O2 → 2Li2O. Burning Lithium in air creates Lithium Oxide, Lithium Peroxide and Lithium Nitride. Small amounts of Li2O2 will also react with CO2 in the air.

 

Reaction Of Copper And Nitric Acid  

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The Science: When the copper is first oxidized, the solution is very concentrated, and the Cu2+ product is initially coordinated to nitrate ions from the nitric acid, giving the solution first a green, and then a greenish-brownish color. When the solution is diluted with water, water molecules displace the nitrate ions in the coordinate sites around the copper ions, causing the solution to change to a blue color.

[GIFs via Chemical Reaction GIFs4GIFs, and GIFSoup.]

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