NileRed enjoys destroying things with chemistry. In this short video he shows what happens to a gummy bear when its sugar interacts with potassium chlorate, causing the gates of hell to open and swallowing up the innocent bear. If that wasn’t horrific enough for you, some masochist enhanced the video with blood-curdling sound effects.
We would say, “Don’t try this at home,” but most of us don’t have a cauldron of molten lava or a vat of acid lying around. Mark Rober’s video includes a series of experiments in which he and his pals tested the destructive abilities of lava, acid, and some wildcards. The video culminates in a challenge to see which could kill a car engine quicker.
We rely on batteries to power everything from our watches to our phones to our vehicles. But where did batteries come from, and who invented them? Origins explores the history of batteries and their evolution since 1799. Along the way, you learn we don’t see “B” cell batteries and what frog legs and torpedo fish have to do with it all.
Anyone can grow their own crystals with just a few household chemicals. Photographer Jens Heidler connected a Sony mirrorless camera to a Motic Panthera microscope and recorded a number of fascinating time-lapse sequences showing how crystals grow. He grew the colorful crystals using a combination of beta-alanine, vitamin C, water, and isopropyl alcohol.
Did you know that putting ink from a ballpoint pen on the tail of a leaf turns it into a tiny, self-propelled boat? Science educator Steve Mould digs into this phenomenon and explores the chemistry and physics at work to make these leaf boats move and leave a trail of ink on the surface.
Gold, silver, and platinum are just a few of the 118 elements which appear on the Periodic Table. Word nerd RobWords explains the etymology of some common chemical names, why their symbols don’t always line up with their full names, and how to pronounce the word “aluminum” once and for all… maybe.
We love the rainbow of colors that can be found on some titanium objects. If you’ve wondered how those colors appear without paint, The Action Lab explains the science at work when heating or anodizing titanium. By applying different voltages to the metal in an ionizing bath, you can change how light reflects off of its surface.
Filmmaker Scott Portingale and composer Gorkem Sen created this engrossing short film using macro and time-lapse photography to explore how fluids move, and chemicals react and change states. Each of its vignettes feels like a journey to a strange new world. Gorkem’s yaybahar perfectly complements the footage.
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.
If you heat up a penny with a blow torch then lower it over a puddle of acetone, the reaction with the vapors will make the penny glow like a dim red lightbulb. NileRed shows off the reaction and points out that it must be done with a copper penny and not one with zinc or it will melt. And remember, chemistry is dangerous.
James over at The Action Lab shows off a neat series of chemical reactions that make it look like he cut his hand, then miraculously heals it. The combination of ferric chloride and potassium thiocyanite produce the deep red blood color, while the addition of sodium fluoride makes it turn transparent again.
After a failed attempt to create a squirtgun that fires elephant’s toothpaste, The Backyard Scientist realized the reaction was too slow to make it work. So he set out to reverse engineering Mark Rober’s much more reactive and dangerous devil’s toothpaste, and loaded up his weapon. Definitely don’t try this at home.
This set of 20 colorful wooden blocks helps kids and adults learn about science and chemistry. 118 of the block faces are printed with the name, symbol, and atomic number of the elements of the periodic table. For fun, see what words you can make by combining elements like “CoBRa” and “BeCoOl.”
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.
Filmmaker Thomas Blanchard created this captivating music video for the electronic track Bellatrix by Sébastien Guérive. He created the monochrome imagery by saturating hot water with chemicals that spontaneously crystallize when cooled. Go full screen, dim the lights, and crank up your headphones to 11 for this one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.