If you love the idea of mixing up chemicals and dream of having your own mad science lab one day, this one is for you. You are going to mix up each solid with each liquid in a chemical matrix.
In a university class, one of the first things you learn in chemistry is the difference between physical and chemical changes. An example of a physical change happens when you change the shape of an object, like wadding up a piece of paper. If you light the paper wad on fire, you now have a chemical change. You are rearranging the atoms that used to be the molecules that made up the paper into other molecules, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ash, and so forth.
How can you tell if you have a chemical change? If something changes color, gives off light (such as the light sticks used around Halloween), or absorbs heat (gets cold) or produces heat (gets warm), it’s a chemical change.
What about physical changes? Some examples of physical changes include tearing cloth, rolling dough, stretching rubber bands, eating a banana, or blowing bubbles.
About this experiment: Your solutions will turn red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, hot, cold, bubbling, foaming, rock hard, oozy, and slimy, and they’ll crystallize and gel — depending on what you put in and how much!
This is the one set of chemicals that you can mix together without worrying about any lethal gases. I do recommend doing this OUTSIDE, as the alcohol and peroxide vapors can irritate you. Always have goggles on and gloves on your hands, and a hose handy in case of spills. Although these chemicals are not harmful to your skin, they can cause your skin to dry out and itch. Wear gloves (latex or similar) and eye protection (safety goggles), and if you’re not sure about an experiment or chemical, just don’t do it. (Skip the peroxide and cold pack if you have small kids.)
• sodium tetraborate (borax, a laundry whitener)
• sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
• sodium carbonate (washing soda)
• calcium chloride (also known as “DriEz” or “Ice Melt”)
• ammonium nitrate (single-use disposable cold pack)
• isopropyl rubbing alcohol
• hydrogen peroxide
• acetic acid (distilled white vinegar)
• liquid dish soap (add to water)
• muffin tin or disposable cups
• popsicle sticks for stirring and mixing
• tablecloths (one for the table, another for the floor)
• head of red cabbage (indicator)
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