This fantastic YouTube channel features spectacular experiments that we can’t do at home! Ever wonder what’s in glow-sticks? Want to shatter hearts with liquid Nitrogen? Will it oxidize?? Find out all this and more with NurdRage.
Oak Ridge Health Physics Museum Online
In case you haven’t already clicked the link just from reading the title, Oak Ridge National Laboratory was one of the flagship sites for the Manhattan Project – America’s successful bid to build a nuclear bomb. They deal in all manner of nuclear experimentation. But this very special website is dedicated to history: the history of radioactivity and human culture. Radioactive toothpaste, buttons from the Chernobyl control room, and the infamous Shoe-Fitting Flouroscope are just three of the delightful entries in the online museum. Fascinating histories and descriptions as well as radiation dosage rates (where applicable) are provided.
In the Pipeline – Things I Won’t Work With
For a more technical read, there’s the In the Pipeline blog by a research chemist. Along with his reviews of literature, commentary on the industry and so on, however, the author also provides an entertaining look into the chemicals that scare chemists. The “Things I Won’t Work With” category reads as a litany of the lethally poisonous, the highly explosive, and the just plain stinky.
At Home Experiments
You can make a grubby old corroded penny look shiny as new by rubbing it gently with salt and vinegar. Rinse your shiny pennies in water and dry them off for a permanent finish. (Just don’t do this with expensive coins that people might want to collect. Removing the patina removes the value.)
Instant Freeze Soda
One cool experiment making the rounds takes advantage of the ability of some liquids to stay liquid below their freezing point if there’s nothing for ice crystals to form on. Soda, luckily for us, is one of these. Shake a sealed plastic bottle of soda really hard. You want to get all that CO2 out of solution, and raise the pressure. Then, put your pop in the freezer for about two and a half hours… the exact time might take some trial and error to perfect. Be careful, though, a soda bottle forgotten in the freezer for too long will explode (this is also why you shouldn’t leave soda cans out in a car trunk in freezing weather). Finally, when your sodas are super-cooled, but still liquid, you can uncap the bottle suddenly (releasing the built-up pressure and lowering the temperature even more) and pour yourself an instant slushie.
While the ever-popular Naked Egg (48 hours sitting in vinegar will strip the shell right off a raw egg) is very well-known, one of the greatest hits in the Teen Outpost this summer was the Vinegar Bone. Steep a clean chicken bone in vinegar for about two weeks, and the vinegar will react with the calcium in the bone, leaving behind only rubbery connective tissue. Gross! You might even be able to tie your bone in a knot! (Rib bones – long and slender – are good for knot-tying.)
-Katherine Skaggs, Teen Services, Teen Outpost, Highlands/Shelby Park Branch