5 stereotype-breaking experiments
How to perform amazing chemical experiments at home
Can you run on water? Of course!
Just mix water with starch in a 2:1 ratio. Now we’re dealing with a non-Newtonian fluid, which acts suspiciously unlike normal liquids. The bonds between the molecules of a non-Newtonian fluid strengthen when acted on by an outside force. If such a liquid is kneaded, dropped, or hit, it acts like a hard object, but as soon as it’s left alone, this “hard object” melts away.
Levitating soap bubbles!
As we continue breaking the laws of physics… Soap bubbles are air trapped in a soapy shell. But why do they swim gracefully in our container instead of falling to the bottom? For full disclosure, the bubbles have already fallen. The secret? Mixing baking soda with vinegar releases carbon dioxide. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it can easily be poured into a container. This creates an invisible “pillow” on which the bubbles come to rest.
Turning an egg into a bouncy ball!
Let’s immerse an egg in vinegar. Leave it for six hours minimum so the shell can dissolve completely. And our bouncy ball is ready! An eggshell consists largely of calcium carbonate. This compound dissolves easily in vinegar, releasing carbon dioxide gas. In the end, only a thin film is left; this film keeps the egg contained and makes it as springy as a rubber ball! But be careful – the film is rather fragile. An egg that is dropped too ambitiously or squeezed too roughly can make an unplanned mess!
Orange rind can kill… a balloon!
Orange peel contains flammable, volatile oils. Pointing the skin at a flame and squeezing it sharply will cause the flame to spark and dance as the oils catch fire! This experiment is impressive, but be careful: follow fire safety precautions.
Orange rind also contains a high concentration of limonene – a compound that actively dissolves rubber. Pointing and squeezing an orange rind in the direction of an inflated balloon releases limonene, which dissolves the thin rubber layer and causes the balloon to burst!
As you may have guessed, you can use a variety of citrus fruits to similar effect: limes, lemons, mandarins, and grapefruits all contain enough volatile oils to get the job done.
A large piece of polystyrene foam vs. a few drops of acetone
To learn who will win this battle, just drip a few drops of acetone onto a piece of polystyrene foam. Polystyrene is a material that partially dissolves in acetone and loses its structure. Meanwhile, the air trapped in the foam is released, which sharply decreases the foam’s volume. This causes the foam to literally melt before our eyes.