Favorite home experiments

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Mr_Rose
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Mr_Rose » Mon May 03, 2010 10:35 pm UTC

Oh, well, if we're including "potentially suicidal abuses of household fuels" in "home experiments" then you an easily build a DIY grenade using a deodorant can, a mixture of paraffin wax and some sort of oxidiser, a wick (probably from the same candle as the wax) and some clay. Exact instructions redacted for obvious reasons.

In fact, deodorant cans (as well as some brands of "air" [actually butane/propane] duster) make a relatively cheap and effective main charge in lots of potentially deadly devices. Quite frankly it's a wonder they are still legal to sell to minors really.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby SubitC » Tue May 04, 2010 8:54 am UTC

As far as explosives go, pipe bombs are manufactured quite easily. All that is needed is a threaded pipe with steel or brass caps, coarse threads, fuse (sparklers work well) and some filler material. For a really devastating bomb the filler material of choice is Tri Nitro Toluene, which can be synthesized in any chem lab by a person with college level organic chemistry knowledge. It would probably incinerate a block or two though........

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby TaintedDeity » Tue May 04, 2010 11:35 am UTC

Woooah, 'Favourite home experiments' not 'Ways to get the police knocking on your door rather forcefully'
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby SubitC » Tue May 04, 2010 3:54 pm UTC

Yes, at this rate we'll reach "How to make your own home thermonuclear bomb" rather more quickly than expected :wink:

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oxoiron
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby oxoiron » Tue May 04, 2010 7:10 pm UTC

Good luck getting your hands on tin foil. I believe you meant aluminum foil.

In normal conversation, the terms are probably accepted as the same (much as sheet steel is commonly called tin), but when talking about chemistry, tin foil =/= aluminum foil.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby leonard3314 » Tue May 04, 2010 10:39 pm UTC

SubitC wrote:Yes, at this rate we'll reach "How to make your own home thermonuclear bomb" rather more quickly than expected :wink:


I'm down.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby BlackSails » Fri May 07, 2010 1:05 am UTC

SubitC wrote:As far as explosives go, pipe bombs are manufactured quite easily. All that is needed is a threaded pipe with steel or brass caps, coarse threads, fuse (sparklers work well) and some filler material. For a really devastating bomb the filler material of choice is Tri Nitro Toluene, which can be synthesized in any chem lab by a person with college level organic chemistry knowledge. It would probably incinerate a block or two though........


Its actually pretty difficult to make TNT since getting that third nitro group on there cant really be done with anything you learn in college orgo.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby idobox » Mon May 10, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

leonard3314 wrote:
SubitC wrote:Yes, at this rate we'll reach "How to make your own home thermonuclear bomb" rather more quickly than expected :wink:


I'm down.


Well, you don't require a licence to buy deuterium in most countries. If you can build your own nuclear bomb, and put your hands on significant amounts of tritium, making a thermonuclear one isn't that much more difficult.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby The1exile » Fri May 21, 2010 11:43 pm UTC

anyone tried putting a christmas bauble in a microwave?
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Thesh » Mon May 24, 2010 4:52 am UTC

Not sure this counts as science, or just plain ol playing with fire, but filling a 2 liter bottle with mist/aerosol from a can of WD-40 and igniting it with a barbecue lighter makes a nice little effect. Bottle could potentially catch fire, but I never had a problem.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby SubitC » Mon May 24, 2010 6:32 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
SubitC wrote:As far as explosives go, pipe bombs are manufactured quite easily. All that is needed is a threaded pipe with steel or brass caps, coarse threads, fuse (sparklers work well) and some filler material. For a really devastating bomb the filler material of choice is Tri Nitro Toluene, which can be synthesized in any chem lab by a person with college level organic chemistry knowledge. It would probably incinerate a block or two though........


Its actually pretty difficult to make TNT since getting that third nitro group on there cant really be done with anything you learn in college orgo.


I actually meant any one with college level knowledge of organic synthesis could make TNT following the steps outlined in a myriad of websites, not from their own knowloedge per se. But its probably not a good idea because it could, in all probablity blow up your house and pretty much 2 blocks around it.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Leumas13 » Tue May 25, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

Here are some experiments my college ACS chapter likes to do for elementary schools (hopefully i weeded out the previously mentioned ones)

1. sprinkling some pepper in a bowl of water, and then putting in a drop of soap to break the surface tension so that the pepper runs to the edge

2. Putting about 10 ml of water in the bottom of an open soda can, boiling the water, then plunging the can upside down into a bucket of ice. this is EXTREMELY fun as the can crushes instantly due to vapor contracting and creating a partial vacuum.

3. Putting an egg on a bottle with a match in it, and sucking it in via a vacuum


and something I liked doing at home is making magnetic accelerators. Placing strong magnets in groups a few centimeters apart with ball bearings at every set, you roll on into the first set of magnets and it's pulled it, accelerating the bearing on the other side of the magnet which is then pulled into the next set of magnets, and so on. Fun if you get strong magnets and a long enough track!
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby sodium » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:51 am UTC

I was emailed a link to a list of restricted chemicals and it reminded me of this thread.

dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/chemsec_appendixa-chemicalofinterestlist.pdf

I think this would be the same list discussed earlier.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby fooliam » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:10 pm UTC

I made a parabolic solar reflector out of cardboard and tinfoil, and I cooked a hot dog with it. That was cool when I was 10. Not really an experiment though...more of a demonstartion of focal points and deliciousness.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby chris661 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:49 am UTC

The egg in a microwave is fun, as long as you're prepared to clean up. We did that in Physics (GCSE/ O-Level). The techies had to clean it up, so our teacher didn't mind.

I think a rail gun would be a fun thing to make - there's lots of Youtube videos where people fling washers around, but I'm sure it could be made more interesting...
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Thesh » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

chris661 wrote:The egg in a microwave is fun, as long as you're prepared to clean up. We did that in Physics (GCSE/ O-Level). The techies had to clean it up, so our teacher didn't mind.

I think a rail gun would be a fun thing to make - there's lots of Youtube videos where people fling washers around, but I'm sure it could be made more interesting...


I wonder how much work it would be to make something closer to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y54aLcC3G74&t=3m25s
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby VDOgamez » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:13 pm UTC

I like the experiment where you mix fuming sulfuric acid with azeotropic nitric acid and slowly add glycerin, then pour into another container and pour off all but the nitroglycerin settled at the bottom.

Really, though, an experiment I think would be neat to try is building a Marx generator, then hooking it up to a virtual cathode oscillator.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby KrO2 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:20 am UTC

One of my favorites is a mixture of roughly equal amounts isopropyl alcohol and water (you may have to do some math, depending on the concentration of the alcohol you're using, but it worked fine when I was basically just guessing; don't worry too much about the amounts). Soak a piece of paper or, if you're feeling confident, money, in it, and light it. The water sticks to the paper, the alcohol burns, and when it burns itself out the paper is untouched. If you add some iodized salt to the mixture it makes the flame yellow like the flame from burning paper.
Of course, I announced "stand back, I'm going to try Science" before doing it.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby dragon » Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:40 am UTC

KrO2 wrote:Soak a piece of paper or, if you're feeling confident, money, in it, and light it.
This would not be the best idea if you live where polymer banknotes are used. The note isn't going to soak up the liquid and you'd end up burning plastic, producing fumes both toxic and unpleasant.

But I do wonder what the effect of alcohol on polymer notes would be... Ahhh, I'm going to have to risk $5 for this experiment.

One time I managed to spill a very small amount of ~70% isopropanol on my bedspread. (If you're curious, it was rubbing alcohol from the medicine drawer in my room, being sub-aliquoted for the purposes of extracting DNA from strawberries.) I didn't think anything of it at the time. Later, I discovered that it had eaten through the fabric. I hadn't known that the quilt was synthetic. What's worse is that it was a gorgeous, huge, intricate, hand-made quilt, gifted to me by my grandmother for my 21st birthday.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Aldarion » Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:03 pm UTC

I've received a set of three small vials for my birthday (lab-grade glass, resistant to most things), and now I'm trying to think up some awesome things to fill them with — just some colored liquids is too low-budget-film-"science lab", right?
Now, one of the ideas I had is filling one of those vials with something that would charge up with light during daytime and glow in the dark later... or even better, release the light only when shaken, so it's not just a dull glow for half an hour, but a blinding(ish) flash when I want it. I know nothing about chemistry, is it possible?

Another idea I had was filling the biggest vial with one liquid and then carefully put a drop of a different colored liquid of the same density into it, so that it floats. Any suggestions for the two liquids?
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Iankap99 » Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

Generate static electricity on a balloon, and watch the water repel away from it. Like they are magnets.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby J Spade » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:20 am UTC

Hang a sheet from a clothesline and try to break an egg by throwing it at said sheet.

Have friends hold the sheet taut and try to do it.

It just won't happen. This can be explained easily by looking at impulse and momentum.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:47 pm UTC

Aldarion wrote:I've received a set of three small vials for my birthday (lab-grade glass, resistant to most things), and now I'm trying to think up some awesome things to fill them with — just some colored liquids is too low-budget-film-"science lab", right?
Now, one of the ideas I had is filling one of those vials with something that would charge up with light during daytime and glow in the dark later... or even better, release the light only when shaken, so it's not just a dull glow for half an hour, but a blinding(ish) flash when I want it. I know nothing about chemistry, is it possible?

Another idea I had was filling the biggest vial with one liquid and then carefully put a drop of a different colored liquid of the same density into it, so that it floats. Any suggestions for the two liquids?


I'd suggest a heavy gas. Or at least tell everyone that is what is in there. :wink:
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experiments observer

Postby a23 » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:34 am UTC

Suppose we place an unknown person in a room, observed secretly by other people.

If the person and the observer are of the same gender, can we deduce that the "felt" temperature for the observed will be lower ? (even if the measured one remained the same)

And if the person is known and has debts relatively to the observer, or is known to have problems with ?

Does this feeling change if now the observer are visible ?

(More formalistic, how is the difference between seeable and hidden observer represented in quantum mechanics ?)

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Re: experiments observer

Postby Technical Ben » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:36 am UTC

a23 wrote:Suppose we place an unknown person in a room, observed secretly by other people.

If the person and the observer are of the same gender, can we deduce that the "felt" temperature for the observed will be lower ? (even if the measured one remained the same)

And if the person is known and has debts relatively to the observer, or is known to have problems with ?

Does this feeling change if now the observer are visible ?

(More formalistic, how is the difference between seeable and hidden observer represented in quantum mechanics ?)

Uh... Is that a joke? As I'm pretty sure that's not how it works, and a bad description of the mechanisms at play in QM.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Ralph Slatton » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:32 am UTC

Wow! This sure brings back memories of my old Gilbert Chemistry set. I suppose my most favorite experiment was making oxygen using colbalt chloride, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium carbonate. A mixture of these would create a small about of oxygen in a test tube, enough to ignite a glowing splint.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby jbwraith » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

Why not build a trebuchet? Simple, demonstrates projectile motion, and gets kids interested in the subject.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby osiris32 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:40 pm UTC

This was an demonstration that my Chemistry teacher did way back in high school, to show us how various chemicals luminesce when exposed to electrical fields. He was trying to show us, basically, what's inside a neon sign.

He took a Kosher Dill Pickle, and a lamp cord. Stripped the ends of both sides of the cord, jammed them in opposite ends of the pickle, and then plugged it in. It glowed a very bright light purple/pinkish color, plus made all sorts of cool zapping sounds and produced smoke. As he explained it (I'm trying to remember back over 10 years here) the chemical difference between a Kosher Dill and a regular dill is what makes the color. He then demonstrated with a regular dill pickle, which made the noises and smoke, but only got that kind of blue/white color of a standard electrical spark, and it was a much smaller visual display.

I don't recommend trying this, though, unless your house has very sturdy electrical circuits, and a good breaker box.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby jamesmurphy32 » Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:17 am UTC

This was an demonstration that my Chemistry teacher did way back in high school, to show us how various chemicals luminesce when exposed to electrical fields. He was trying to show us, basically, what's inside a neon sign.

He took a Kosher Dill Pickle, and a lamp cord. Stripped the ends of both sides of the cord, jammed them in opposite ends of the pickle, and then plugged it in. It glowed a very bright light purple/pinkish color, plus made all sorts of cool zapping sounds and produced smoke. As he explained it (I'm trying to remember back over 10 years here) the chemical difference between a Kosher Dill and a regular dill is what makes the color. He then demonstrated with a regular dill pickle, which made the noises and smoke, but only got that kind of blue/white color of a standard electrical spark, and it was a much smaller visual display.


Don't suppose you know where I can find a vid of that, do you?

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Re: experiments observer

Postby a23 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 10:15 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Uh... Is that a joke? As I'm pretty sure that's not how it works, and a bad description of the mechanisms at play in QM.


Well, I don't know the mechanism of QM, but it reminds when somewhere somebody is thinking about somewhere else, then the state of mind is a kind of combination of both.

The latter represent the "collapse" of the wave-function, because we can in some sense make a weak explanation, near ridiculous, like a comics. In some sense we don't need the wave-function, since it deals with stuff that "still not are".

Anyhow it''s still astonishing that this different a priori in the void, before the measurement, can lead to calculations, I wonder how different it were to take statistics as probabilities for the prediction of the next iteration of experiments, and a quantum process ?

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby pakeeza1990 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:59 am UTC

don,t do that type of experiment which is cause by the death or any other several reason...
but your suggest some good data here thanks

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby frogg » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:26 am UTC

one thing i enjoy freaking the shit out of my relatives with:

take a normal film canister (if you can find one)
take a compressed air can
turn the compressed air can upside down so it will spray out the liquid propellant rather than air, fill up the canister abt 1/8 of an inch, and screw the cap on

Wait, and the cap will explode off and hit the celing. its fairly exciting.

also, you can either shake it to give it a ~5 sec fuse or just screw the cap on without shaking it at all and it will have about a ~30sec fuse.



edit-- this is probably less of an experiment and more of a prank, but that seems the direction this topic is in anyway

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby wbeaty » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:51 am UTC

If you move slowly, you can escape from a giant pool of non-newtonian cornstarch goop. Or you can run rapidly across the surface without sinking.

But if someone zaps you with a VandeGraaff generator, the cornstarch "hardens," and it stays that way until you discharge. So in theory, you should be able to walk slowly or come to a halt upon a pool of Ooblek if you've charged your body to a couple hundred kilovolts.

http://www.google.com/search?q=cornstarch+electrorheological

Well actually you need cornstarch+oil, rather than cornstarch+water. It has to be an insulator. Though perhaps it might work with deionized water?

Try pouring oil-based Ooblek onto the dome of an operating VDG machine. Now periodically discharge it while still pouring.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby wbeaty » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:02 am UTC

osiris32 wrote:He took a Kosher Dill Pickle, and a lamp cord. Stripped the ends of both sides of the cord, jammed them in opposite ends of the pickle, and then plugged it in. It glowed a very bright light purple/pinkish color


Youtube search:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=electric+pickle

Here's another version:

Connect an AC zip cord to two nails, jam one nail into the end of a pickle, then plug in the cord. Now use insulated pliers to carefully pick up the other nail and touch it to the pickle. BZZZAAP! The bright arc cuts into the pickle flesh. You can use the nail to slowly bore into the pickle. Carve your initials. The channel in the pickle is wider than the nail, since the arcs leap outward in all directions from the metal surface. EDM Electric Discharge Machining. EPM! (Don't let the nails touch. Better yet, wire a big electric heater in series, so if the nails do touch, it just turns on the heater.)

Another one: build a transparent monstrous artificial frankenstein pickle with agar and a bit of salt. Jam the above two nails into the ends, and plug it in. The usual light show occurs, but the pseudopickle is transparent. Mysteries are revealed! Watch the crawling arcs play along the lengths of the nails. Sodium-light show. Or for a magenta glowing artificial pickle, substitute strontium nitrate for NaCl.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby Technical Ben » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:06 am UTC

It's all physics and stamp collecting.
It's not a particle or a wave. It's just an exchange.

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby matthewhaworth » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

If you suck liquid through a straw and then put your finger on top of it without letting the liquid escape first, why does the liquid stay in the straw?

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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby The EGE » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:42 am UTC

matthewhaworth wrote:If you suck liquid through a straw and then put your finger on top of it without letting the liquid escape first, why does the liquid stay in the straw?


Air pressure. Outside air pressure pushes the air into the straw with 14.7 psi -- 101.325 kPa. 10 grams of liquid in a 3/16" diameter straw is only 561 Pa. Net force is up.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby eternauta3k » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:16 pm UTC

The EGE wrote:
matthewhaworth wrote:If you suck liquid through a straw and then put your finger on top of it without letting the liquid escape first, why does the liquid stay in the straw?


Air pressure. Outside air pressure pushes the air into the straw with 14.7 psi -- 101.325 kPa. 10 grams of liquid in a 3/16" diameter straw is only 561 Pa. Net force is up.
Why doesn't this work with something larger, like a bucket?
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby eSOANEM » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:46 pm UTC

The surface tension of the water is no longer sufficient to stop the air EGE mentioned from going through the water, as such, a bubble forms, rises up and displaces the water.
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Re: Favorite home experiments

Postby M1k3_Nix » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:37 pm UTC

had a quick flick through. not seen this one so ill post it.


potassium permanganate and glycerol = fire (:

spontaneous combustion due the oxidation of the glycerol
(dont try it inside, or on anything flammable)

replace the glycerol with H2O2 a spontaneous reaction producing steam
(the higher the conc. the more vigourous, so be careful)

all the above can be brought in pharmacies


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