Awesome Chemistry

Hot Dog vs. Acid

Hot Dog vs. Acid

YouTuber NileRed is known for his dramatic chemistry experiments. Here, he shows off a highly volatile mixture of sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide known as “piranha solution,” which work together to absolutely obliterate a hot dog. Needless to say this stuff is incredibly dangerous, so don’t attempt anything like this at home.

Giant Elephant Toothpaste Volcano

Giant Elephant Toothpaste Volcano

Engineer Mark Rober keeps his promise for bigger and more spectacular experiments by building the tallest ever stream of elephant toothpaste, a foamy mess created by mixing hydrogen peroxide, soap, and potassium iodide. The trick to sending the stream sky-high was bolting the giant steel flask to a concrete pad.

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The Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

The Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

We’ve all seen the old baking soda and vinegar volcano experiment at some point. The Action Lab shows off a far more energetic and long-lasting mini volcano, but it requires the use of a toxic chemical that needs to be handles very carefully.

Making a Big Mac from Scratch

Making a Big Mac from Scratch

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. That’s what we thought went into a Big Mac. But the actual ingredient list is much longer and loaded with chemicals. Food Insider tried to replicate the US version of McDonald’s popular double burger using all 54 of its ingredients.

Giant Liquid Nitrogen Explosion

Giant Liquid Nitrogen Explosion

Pouring boiling water into liquid nitrogen will result in a highly energetic reaction. YouTuber Nick Uhas and his pals put together an experiment where they poured 55 gallons of hot H2O into 200 liters of LN2 and added some soap and washable paint for color. The resulting explosion of bright blue vapor and foam is quite spectacular.

Whiskey Chemistry Rocks Glasses

Whiskey Chemistry Rocks Glasses
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These unique rocks glasses make a great gift for whiskey lovers. Created by the science geeks at Cognitive Surplus, each 11 oz. glass depicts and describes the molecules that are commonly found in the delicious aged spirit, from ethanol to guaiacol to furfanol. Sold in a set of two.

How Film Works

How Film Works

The vast majority of still and video images captured today are shot with digital equipment. But for more than 150 years, film was king. Destin from Smarter Every Day offers a deep dive into the physics and chemistry of film photography, along with some thoughts on the upsides of using the analog medium vs. digital.

Exploring the Elements

Exploring the Elements
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This book helps inquisitive minds of all ages understand all 118 elements of the periodic table and their place in the universe. It features lots of colorful charts and illustrations and explains the relationships between elements with similar attributes.

Coffee Chemistry Mug

Coffee Chemistry Mug
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This Cognitive Surplus mug celebrates the science of coffee. Science nerds will geek out on its breakdown of the molecules that give coffee its flavor, aroma, and kick. Choose from a 13 oz. borosilicate glass or 11 oz. ceramic mug. Their Social Chemistry collection includes beer, whiskey, tea, wine, and water glasses.

Everything Is Chemical

Everything Is Chemical

Every living thing on Earth is made up of mix of chemical elements, including carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. This animated short from NM State University’s Learning Games Lab provides a laypersons’ explanation of how chemical bonds create life and provide the nutrients needed to keep it going.

Burning Matches Underwater

Burning Matches Underwater

The Q shows off a goopy compound they made from wood glue, nail varnish, and match sulfur that lets homemade matches burn even when fully submerged in water. This is definitely one you shouldn’t try at home, given the risks of both fire and the unknown consequences of breathing the vapors the chemicals produce.

Why Don’t Marshmallows Explode?

Why Don’t Marshmallows Explode?

Did you know that the chemical energy released by burning a marshmallow can be three times more than an equivalent mass of TNT? MinuteEarth dives into these two very different chemical reactions and explains why marshmallows don’t blow up when ignited.

Making Black Fire

Making Black Fire

Most fire is orange, or maybe shades of yellow, white or blue. But it turns out if you spray sodium salts and ethanol into a flame and then view it in front of a sodium vapor lamp, it looks black. Natasha Simons of The Royal Institution explains the science behind this phenomenon.

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Why Is Water So Weird?

Why Is Water So Weird?

Despite being one of the most common (and lifegiving) chemicals on Earth, water behaves in ways that it probably shouldn’t. This clip from Seeker dives into the deep end of the ocean as it explains some of the strange properties of H2O, and why scientists are still learning things about this theoretically simple compound.

Chemical Patterns

Chemical Patterns

After wowing us with their footage of fire and ice, macrophotography channel Beauty of Science’s series Envisioning Chemistry shares images of the Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, a wild pattern of oscillations that occurs when a bromine and an acid are combined in a petri dish.

Becoming Fireproof and Waterproof

Becoming Fireproof and Waterproof

Veritasium managed to make his skin resistant to both flames and water by modifying the ultra-lightweight, synthetic known as Aerogel. It’s a very difficult material to work with, but has some amazing properties, including incredible thermal insulation and absorption.

Beautiful Chemistry: Bubbles

Beautiful Chemistry: Bubbles

Macro photography series Beautiful Chemistry presents an up-close look at the formation and behavior of bubbles, with different chemical solutions and electrical charges producing some very different volumes, sizes, and arrangements of the air-filled orbs. The accompanying soundtrack is wonderfully soothing.

Chemistry Lab Shot Glasses

Chemistry Lab Shot Glasses
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Barbuzzo’s miniature replicas of laboratory glassware are the perfect way to serve up the results of your mixology experiments. The set includes all four glasses shown here, each one labeled with volume demarcations for precise measurements.

Making Flaming Snowballs

Making Flaming Snowballs

After creating a mix of chilled acetone and water that was both slushy and flammable, The King of Random tried to make fiery snowballs using a similar technique. After a few false starts, he succeeded with gasoline-soaked snowballs. Kids, don’t try this at home.

When Mercury Meets Aluminum

When Mercury Meets Aluminum

While most aluminum is covered with a protective oxide layer, it’s possible that it could wear away over time. After watching NileRed’s clip showing how mercury can interact with exposed aluminum, we’re more than happy with it being banned from air travel.

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Self-Siphoning Fluid

Self-Siphoning Fluid

The Action Lab shows off a cool property of polyethylene glycol, a chemical with a crazy high molecular weight. As a result, they stick together in very long chains, so once he pours out a little bit of the liquid, the rest follows on its own, much like metal beads do.

Fun with Liquid Metal

Fun with Liquid Metal

The Backyard Scientist takes a look at an interesting property of the liquid metal substance gallium when it’s mixed with water and sulfuric acid. The metal turns into perfectly round beads, then coalesces with an almost magnetic force due to surface tension.

The Floor Is on Fire

The Floor Is on Fire

A chemistry teacher demonstrates a really cool property of liquid methane by pouring the rapidly-extinguishing substance onto the floor while afire. We’re not sure how safe this is, but it sure looks cool. Original video here.

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