Reaction of Propane and Oxygen

An oxy-propane torch is lit with just propane, and the flame examined, before oxygen is added, changing the flame character and temperature.

The torch head is gaffed to the table top with enough slack to turn the gas valves. The propane tank and the oxygen tank are on separate dollies. The torch valves are closed, and the tank regulators set so there is about three pounds of pressure behind each gas. (The precise settings of the regulator are a good thing to check out in a practice session before doing this demo.)

With a friction lighter in one hand, open the propane valve on...

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Reaction of Magnesium and Air

A magnesium ribbon is held with tongs and lit with a match or torch, making a bright flame that consumes the ribbon from the bottom up.

The ribbon should be about 20-30 cm long. Hold the ribbon with the tongs high and at arms length. Let the magnesium ribbon hang at a steep angle but not vertical. Light the bottom of the ribbon by bringing the end of the torch flame up to ribbon.  Magnesium will melt before it lights, so carefully with the torch. The ribbon can also be lit with a wooden match.

Wear safety glasses and don't look directly at the flame.

Specific Heat of Air and Water

Two clean plastic cups, one filled with room temperature water, the other empty, for a student to test with their finger.

Supported by experience, this is a way to introduce heat capacity as an important variable in measuring temperature.

Make sure the water has been in the room long enough to equilibrate. Cover the water as any evaporation will cool it.

Food safe cups and potable water. And safety glasses, because why not?

Hot and Cold Gas in Balloons

A balloon is dropped in boiling water, and another balloon is cooled with liquid nitrogen to demonstrate the effect of temperature on volume of gas in a balloon.

A 4 liter beaker on a hot plate, with a liter of water boiling within. A prepared balloon, filled with air and tied so that it just fits in the beaker, is dropped into the beaker. The balloon expands to seal the beaker and is forced up by the vapor pressure, ending up on top of the beaker, too large to fit inside.

A foam ice bucket will hold a helium ballon that is large enough to seal around the inside of the bucket...

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Precipitation of Lead Iodide

Potassium iodide solution is added to lead nitrate solution, and bright yellow lead iodide precipitates.

Potassium iodide solution is 0.1 M and lead nitrate solution is 0.01M.

The lead nitrate solution is about 350 ml in a 600ml beaker, and the KI sol'n is 200 ml in a 400ml beaker. Pour the potassium iodide sol'n into the lead nitrate.

Glasses and gloves. The finished demonstration is stirred and the precipitate and solution goes in the hazardous waste bucket.

Conductivity of Solutions

A light bulb is lit when the conductivity probe is immersed in an ionic solution.

The solutions are all in labeled 250ml beakers. All are about 150 ml of 0.1M sol'n. In order, the solutions are: tap water, distilled water, sodium chloride, sucrose, acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, ethanol, and barium sulfate. (See video: http://youtu.be/4WillWjxRWw?hd=1)

The simple conductivity tester is on the bench, for the instructor to plug in. An 800ml beaker with 400 ml of distilled water is provided as...

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Weighing Moles

Several samples are weighed on the balance; each is a mole.

The electronic scales are set up in front of the video camera. In a secondary container on the scale platform is a cube of lead weighing 208 g., 18 g of water in a bottle with an empty bottle for tare, and 200.6 g of mercury in a bottle with an empty bottle for tare.

Precipitation of Silver Chloride

Sodium chloride solution is added to silver nitrate solution and a white precipitate of silver chloride is instantly formed.

The silver nitrate solution is around 0.1M, and the sodium chloride solution around 0.5M. Pour the sodium chloride sol'n into the silver nitrate to avoid leaving traces of silver nitrate in the empty beaker.

Wear safety glasses and gloves to prepare and perform this demonstration.

Smog in a Bottle

Nitrogen dioxide is produced by an electric discharge in air and, when sprayed with a water mist, produces acid rain.

What it shows:

Some of the most irritating and dangerous pollutants in our atmosphere are gases such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen dioxide is a deep orange-red gas that, together with smokelike particles, is responsible for the color of smog. In this demonstration, nitrogen dioxide is produced by an electric discharge in air and, when sprayed with a water mist, produces acid rain.

How it works:...

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Coriolis Effect

As demonstrated by two people throwing a volleyball to each other while sitting on rotating platform.

What it shows: 

The Coriolis force is a pseudo force existing in a frame that rotates with constant angular velocity to a reference frame. It acts on a body moving in the rotating frame to deflect its motion sideways. Here the audience sits in the reference frame, while two volunteers on a rotating platform experience the coriolis force by trying to basket a volleyball.


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Seismic Wave Refraction

Total internal refraction of laser beam through sugar solution with refractive index gradient; representative of seismic waves through Earth's mantle.

What it shows:

As a simulation of atmospheric refraction, this demonstration shows the gradual and continuous bending of light due to a gradient in the optical density of the medium. In this case the variable refracting medium is a tank of sugar water with a vertical gradient in the concentration of sugar and a HeNe laser provides the light beam. It can be used as a model of mirage formation (except that the...

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Centrifugal Eggbeater

Spinning frame that demonstrates equatorial bulge (oblateness).

What it shows:

The rotation of a planet about its axis causes its equator to bulge due to the "centrifugal force" acting on its mass. Here a spinning wire frame simulates the effect.

How it works:

Planets are actually oblate spheroids rather than spheres due to their rotation. This device consists of two spring metal rings mounted on a metal axis. The north pole is free to slide so that, as the frame spins, the hoops flatten and the equator bulges. The axis is...

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Armillary Sphere

Model to show celestial sphere; larger version has capacity to show lunar motions.

What it shows:

The position and motions of heavenly bodies are projected against a hypothetical sphere of infinite radius, centered on the Earth, called the Celestial Sphere. With this demo you can explain the motions of the stars and of the Sun, and show various aspects of the seasons.

How it works:

The main features of the sphere itself are shown schematically in figure 1. The spherical wire cage defines the celestial sphere, its...

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Eudoxos Hipoped Machine

Electrically driven machine to represent retrograde planetary motion according to Aristotle's theory of concentric spheres.

What it shows:

This is the realization of a proposed solution to retrograde motion put forward by Eudoxus (427 - 347 B.C.). Here a combination of three uniform circular motions produces retrograde motion.

How it works:

The hippopede machine consists of three concentric rings, with a point on the innermost representing the position of the planet. The assembly in figure 1 is held vertically in...

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