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 BEST Chemistry
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.
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.
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