Chemistry

A Bending Bone

Unless it is something that has a soft and wobbly structure, like a jellyfish, all animals, including humans, have a stiff skeleton to support their muscles and other body tissues,…

The Science of Making Butter

Bread and butter go together naturally (especially freshly made bread still warm from the oven). There are records of butter making from around 4000 years ago. Butter usually comes from…

Cleaning Tarnish Off Silver: Bicarbonate and Aluminium

After a while, even the best and most carefully polished silver becomes dull and tarnished, and needs to be cleaned again. Why does it tarnish, and how can it be…

Making Hot Ice

Water solidifies or turns to ice at zero degrees centigrade. This experiment makes something that looks just like ice but forms at room temperature and gives off heat. The experiment…

Making Polymers: Cornflour Slime and Silly Putty

Polymers are made of long molecules like chains that stick to each other (cross-link). Natural polymers include hair, wool and cellulose (in plants). Plastic is a synthetic polymer. ‘Silly Putty’…

Making an Emulsion

Oil and water are described as immiscible liquids – liquids that do stay mixed together (see ‘Why Oil and Water Don’t Mix’). Even if oil and water are thoroughly shaken…

Make a Soda Fountain

Drinks are fizzy because they have carbon dioxide in them – the gas is forced into the drink at low temperatures and dissolves. Homemade fizzy drinks can be made using…

Invisible Ink

Invisible ink, sometimes called ‘sympathetic ink’, is a way of writing secret messages. Spies have used invisible inks to pass on secret messages, as have prisoners and hostages. Invisible Messages…

Soap and Detergent Chemistry

Soap is made from animal fats and vegetable oils, mixed with a caustic chemical called sodium hydroxide (also known as lye). The sodium hydroxide reacts with the oil to make…

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