13 August 2009

Chemistry and Chemistry

Isn't it funny how one word can have different meanings. Even a word like chemistry, one you think is above the whole double meaning junk. I'll explain later.

So, Stephanie complains that I am too persistant. That I can't move on until I've done what I wanted. If you've read her blog, you can see where Lauren gets it. I got my balloon to float. I was super excited when I let it go. I had butterflies in my stomach becuase I had an audience, but it worked, it floated.

Above is the simple cheap filtration system I made. It consists of a quart jar with a tube hot glued in a hole in the lid, a pop bottle filled with water that the tube goes in from the top but extends to the bottom, and a balloon. So the acid/aluminum reaction of last post takes place in the jar and the hydrogen + impurities such as acid vapor go through the tube into the pop bottle where it bubbles through. The hydrogen gas makes it into the balloon, but the acid vapor is cooled and held in solution.

Above is my crew/audience. Some boys, friends of ours, came over to swim and eat dinner. Lauren although not evident from the picture is in love with the boy in the grey shirt. Also pictrued is a red balloon which happens to be floating because it happens to contain a gas lighter than air.


This may actually be a double nerd moment about the double meaning of chemistry. So one meaning is what I am doing on my blog. How compounds react with their environment. The other is one of love.

First we learn about gravity. Every object with mass exibits some force of attraction to matter around it. Even tiny little particles.

Second we learn that opposits attract. (+) and (-) charges have a force of attraction. Further more we learn from hydrogen bonding that it doesn't take a full neg and a full pos but even partial charges are attractive and strong enough to go against the force of gravity as in water ascending the trunk of a tree.

Third we learn about vanderwalls interactions that are like atoms, similar to number one, want to pack close together and can weakly hold themselves in position.

Fouth Hydrophobic interactions. Things insouble in water, they don't dissolve, pack as tightly as the can to minimize disorder or entropy in the universe. We happen to be surrounded by water in the atmosphere. I know many of you say this is a stretch, but in chemistry, especially physical chemistry the atmosphere is considered a liquid. Last I checked we don't dissolve in water, so what do we take from all of this?

A simple chemical reaction:

one boy + one girl --> two hearts beating wildly

A balance equation gives

Jeff + Stephanie --> Eternal Love

Here are the rest of the words to the song that is one of Stephanie and my favorites. One boy, one girl by Collin Raye:

He finally gave in to his friend's girlfriend when she said "there's someone you should meet" At a crowded restaurant way cross town, he waited impatiently When she walked in, their eyes met, And they both stared Right there and then, Everyone else disappeared, but

Chorus: One boy, one girl, Two hearts beating wildly, To put it mildly, it was love at first sight. He smiled, she smiled, and they knew right away This was the day they'd been waiting for all their lives. For a moment the whole world Revolved around one boy, and one girl

In no time at all, they were standing there in the front of a little church Among their friends and family, repeating those sacred words. The preacher said "son, kiss your bride" And he raised her veil Like the night they met, Time just stood still, for

Chorus: One boy, one girl Two hearts beating wildly To put it mildly, it was love at first sight. He smiled, she smiled, and they knew right away This was the day they'd been waiting for all their lives, And for a moment the whole world, Revolved around one boy, and one girl

He was holding her hand when the doctor looked up and grinned, "Congratulations, twins"

Chorus: One boy, one girl Two hearts beating wildly To put it mildly, it was love at first sight. He smiled, she smiled, and they knew right away This was the day they'd been waiting for all their lives, And for a moment the whole world, Revolved around one boy, and one girl

Happy 3 year Anniversary

05 August 2009

Blowing Up Balloons

First, Lauren and I blew up a balloon by a non conventional method of baking soda and vinegar. This was in honor of Lauren's first science experiment when she was about 1. We put the stuff in the bottle and got her attention. When the balloon started expanding she was suprised and her attention was glued to that balloon. She also enjoyed it this time. I wasn't too worried about amounts so I used about a half cup of white vinegar (acetic acid) and a table spoon of baking soda. I might suggest using less baking soda as we had fiz going in the balloon with the carbon dioxide.

The next balloon was more for the adventurer in me rather than for Lauren. I am exited to report that it fills the balloon with a different gas that carbon dioxide. I did a couple trial runs with my friends and worked out a few bugs. Then onto the family reunion. I was hoping to make a balloon that floated for the kids. I thought I had it figured out by paying extra for helium quality balloons. I figured wrong. The gas still had too many impurities to be light enough to float. It only falls slowly. When I get one I will post it. The materials are simple: a glass bottle in a ice bath, about a tablespoon of Aluminum, wadded up foil is the easiest, and less than a 1/4 cup of Hydrochloric acid. The glass bottle is important. The reaction get incredibly hot. Although the acid doesn't react with it, I'm pretty sure the plastic would melt from the heat. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) has many names, it is sold commercialy as Muratic acid. You can buy it to clean brick or cement or in my case make a balloon that floats.

The last part was adult only. The danger level is still low, but I didn't want to be an inspiration to any aspiring pyromaniacs. Basicially I would have had two 9 - 10 year old boys who I didn't what to see it.


Nerd moment

Balloon #1
Vinegar is called acetic acid. Its pka a measure of the strength of an acid or base, is 4.76 so about half way between water and your stomach. Baking soda as we learned last time is sodium bicarbonate, a base. It also happens to be one of the most important molecules in your bodies buffering system. It again acepts a proton then splits into water and carbon dioxide. I know, a repeat from last time. I has sentimental value though.

Balloon #2
Aluminum, the third most abundant element in the earth, is very reactive and rarely found alone. Aluminum foil is usu only 92 - 96 % aluminum. Aluminum can have as much as a + 3 charge and therefore is very attractive to a negatively charged chloride ion. Chlorine (Cl) has a minus 1 charge. This makes aluminum chloride which is used in making both paint and anti perspiant. The excess hydrogen combines with itself to share each others electrons and moves to the gas form. The balloon then is filled mostly with hydrogen gas and should float because hydrogen is lighter than air, but the impurities such as acid vapor, a little aluminum chloride. It would be normal to worry about chlorine gas which is dangerous it can react with water in your lungs and turn back into hydrochloric acid which is bad for your lungs. It is the poison gas used in World War I. However as you see from the reaction below it is not produced in this case.
Chemical Reaction

2Al + 6HCl --> 2AlCl3 + 3H2

Some may argue that even though your not bubbling Oxygen gas (O2) in the reaction that there is minimal amounts there and you have a minor reaction taking place that would result in chlorine gas (Cl2(g)) I suppose yes, it is going on, but the amount of harmful chlorine gas being produce is not enough to detect without high tech instrumentation.
Chemical Reaction
4HCl + O2 (g) --> 2Cl2 (g) + 2H2O

09 July 2009

Welcome to science. I feel you should be introduced to why I started this blog on my first post. I am a little bit of a nerd, I like science, and I want to do fun things with my kids. I also want you to be able to copy and do fun things with your kids or by yourslef if so inclined. This first experiment is a fizzy frenzy. I used lemons and limes, squeezed about 1/2 cup into a glass then put in about a 1/2 cup of water. I got Lauren's attention and put in about a teaspoon of baking soda (in retrospec I would use less maybe 1/2 teaspoon. The flavor is strong.) Stir and WOW did it fiz! Up and over the glass and all over the table. Messes are at least 90% of the fun. Make sure to stir in plenty of sugar for taste.
What you need



Lauren's twist

It turns out sugar is sweet

Nerd Moment:

Lemon juice and lime juice contain an acid called citric acid. Baking soda is a base called sodium bicarbonate. When combined a chemical reaction takes place where the acid donates a proton or hydrogen ion to solution and the base accepts a proton from solution. In the process they make water, salt, and in this case carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the gas that forms the bubbles and fiz. The reaction looks something like this.

C6H8O7(citric acid) + NaHCO3(sodium bicarbonate) ---> NaC6H7O7(sodium citrate) + H2CO3(carbonic acid)


H2CO3(carbonic acid) spontaneously ---> H20(water) + CO2(carbon dioxide)

What we see: fiz!