The Chemical Chameleon demonstration

It can be hard to visualise the oxidation states of transition metals but this demonstration has you covered. The rich array of colours of manganese in each of its oxidation states never ceases to amaze. Purple, green, blue, orange. You name it, manganese has it. Exploiting this ability of manganese, and a hydroxide and reducing sugar, this simple to set-up and non-toxic reaction self cycles through almost every colour of the rainbow. It really does earn the name of the Chemical Chameleon!

Continue reading “The Chemical Chameleon demonstration”

Synthesis of copper powder using copper sulfate

Reactions can be painfully slow without surface area on your side. I will be converting copper sulfate into copper powder through the aid of aluminium, in the form of kitchen foil, along with a special ingredient that is also very widely available. The convenience of the surface area gained from using copper powder instead of solid copper metal is worth the trouble. The difficulty of mechanically powdering the copper gives this wet chemical process the edge. Any copper salt should be suitable for this redox reaction, but copper sulfate is the easiest to purchase for the home chemist and who does not want to work with the beautiful blue of this compound?

Continue reading “Synthesis of copper powder using copper sulfate”

Synthesis of alkali metal hydroxides via electrolysis

A long quest for me has finally been completed on whether cotton, often found cheap as cotton wool balls for removing make-up, actually can be used by the home chemist to act as an ion-permeable membrane in electrolysis. The aim is turning water and alkali metal chlorides into hydrogen, chlorine and, most importantly, the respective alkali metal hydroxide. It is often misleading how to actually synthesise alkali metal hydroxides by electrolysis, but with exploring further and problem solving, this process amazing works.

Continue reading “Synthesis of alkali metal hydroxides via electrolysis”

Extracting red phosphorus from match boxes

Matches – with their power to give anybody an almost instant flame – are often taken for granted. I will be taking you through my extraction process of red phosphorus, the beautiful red allotrope of the element phosphorus that can be found commonly in the striker pads of match boxes. Although we may not recover much of the chemical, it is always fun to explore the science and appreciate common household products a little more.

Continue reading “Extracting red phosphorus from match boxes”

Extracting zinc, MnO2 and carbon electrodes from batteries

Many commercial batteries house hidden gems when it comes to their chemical compositions and the Zinc Chloride battery is no exception. I will be attempting the common extraction of a variety of materials, such as manganese(IV) oxide, zinc and carbon electrodes, from these batteries due to their many uses for the amateur chemist who is always looking for OTC resources.

Continue reading “Extracting zinc, MnO2 and carbon electrodes from batteries”

Website Powered by

Up ↑