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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.