A maze with chemistry
How can chemists solve a maze instantly?
Attention! All experiments are performed by professionals. Do not attempt.
- soapy solution of sodium hydroxide;
- sulfuric acid;
- thymolphthalein solution.
Soap consists of fatty acid salts that lower water’s surface tension. A reaction with sulfuric acid converts these salts to acids at the end of the labyrinth. At this point, the water’s surface tension, conversely, increases. This surface tension difference forces liquid to move from the start to the end along the shortest path. Moreover, this stream is colored with thymolphthalein, as it turns blue in an alkaline environment. Thus, the maze can be solved instantly!
A safer version of this experiment is included in the “Chemistry in motion” set from the MEL Chemistry subscription