Show the power of chemistry by tearing apart an aluminum soda can with little effort. Just score the inside of a soda can to break the plastic lining, add some copper(II) chloride and water, and sit back—chemistry will do the rest. The single replacement reaction of aluminum metal with copper(II) ions “ dissolves” the aluminum from the inside out. With only the paint on the outside of thecan holding it together, the can will rip apart with just a firm twist. Continue reading
You won’t believe what our science guy Steve Spangler found inside a soda can. In fact, it’s inside every soda can and it protects the aluminum from reacting with the soda. Steve takes us inside his lab for a chemistry lesson you won’t forget Continue reading
When mercury is added to aluminum, it forms an amalgam (a mercury alloy). Aluminum is normally protected by a thick oxide layer, but the formation of the amalgam disrupts it. Continue reading
All the magic that we know is in the transfer of electrons. Reduction (gaining electrons) and oxidation (the loss of electrons) combine to form Redox chemistry, which contains the majority of chemical reactions. As electrons jump from atom to atom, they carry energy with them, and that transfer of energy is what makes all life on earth possible.
**Special Thanks to Matt Young at the University of Montana (Geosciences Department, Environmental Biogeochemistry Lab) who helped with the chemical demonstrations.**
Oxidation Numbers 3:29
Redox Reactions 5:59
Oxidation Reactions 6:28
Balancing Oxidation Reactions 7:18
Also thank you to the following chemistry teachers for assistance:
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The reaction of sodium and water can be quite vigorous and potentially dangerous if appropriate safety precautions are not followed. The reaction is also so fast that students often have difficulty observing it. Here’ a slower and more controlled version of the demo that will captivate your students. It’s key ingredient is mineral oil.
Catalysts are compounds that can trigger a chemical reaction without being affected themselves. Continue reading
Adam and Jamie test a myth that thermite can cause ice to explode.
Courtesy of Amanda Slater, Wikimedia Commons
««« By James Palcik
A solution is prepared containing a dye. The dye, methylene blue, is colourless in a reduced state. Upon shaking the solution, the dye is oxidized and displays a blue colour. As the solution stands undisturbed, the dye fades to colourless as it is reduced. The cycle may be repeated over and over.