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Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:43 am UTC
by pyroman
I used to be into model rockets some 10 years back although i basically built most of the rockets from kits and used premade engines. After reading through this thread i decided that i want to get back into it except make everything from scratch. I was planning on using sugar and KNO3 for the propellant but i was wondering if anyone here has any experience with making the engine housing on the rockets. Could use a few tips to help get me started.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:37 am UTC
by Psy-Kosh
I haven't read through the entire thread yet, so someone may have posted this idea, but one cool and easy thing is this: cheap laser pointer + pliers (with wire cutting/stripping section) = instant demo of single slit diffraction.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:35 am UTC
by pyroman
speaking of laser pointers another cool thing that you can do is use the laser from a dvd burner to make a burning laser. Its fairly simply to make. you take the laser diode out of the dvd burner, the voltage regulator out of a cheap ass laser pointer and then put it in some sort of housing (I've seen mag lights used a lot). I haven't done this one though as the laser is very powerful and can cause eye damage in less than the blink of an eye. IF you plan on doing this project i would highly recommend proper eye protection. the last thing you want is to be messing around with it and accidentally catch a reflective surface and fry your eye.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:52 am UTC
by GCM
ManaUser wrote:
GCM wrote:Say, Ace Hardware?

Indeed. Hardware stores have a good selection of solvents in particular. Some acids too.

GCM wrote:Grocery stores I'm not so sure, never seen any that have these kind of things. Wouldn't people rather keep chemicals away from their food?

Believe it or not, people put chemicals in their food. Chemicals like sodium bicarmonate, sodium chloride, acetic acid. (Let's ignore the fact the food is made out of chemicals to start with.) Then there's hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol, in pharmacy section. And sodium hypochlorite, ammonium hydroxide, in the household cleaners section. You might find too ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide too if you're reasonably lucky.

All of those have potential for home experiments, I'm sure someone could think of alot more.


Uhh, haven't tried Ace yet, but I did go to another one which didn't have anything. I should probably note that I'm in Malaysia right now, and I don't think people apart from school have any interest in that sort of thing. At least, very very few. I will be off to the US soon, though.

As for the food bit, those are supposed to be, like, pesticides and preservatives and whatnot, right?

I'd make a joke about sodium chloride, too, but I've been lame enough today. :D

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:30 pm UTC
by Delta_50
One of my favorite home demos was a varint on the soda can crushing, instead of a soda can get a a oil drum (yes I know people usually dont have theses lying around but my friend happend to have one) put a little water in it and boil it, after its boilling screw the lid on really tight and let it sit. Another one is to empty a soda can and put it in acid, the acid should eat away the metal and leave the plastic liner intact. I think you can use the soda inside as an acid.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:22 am UTC
by slashme
OK, newbie alert: I'm too lame to figure out how to post a reply directly to the "mercury fulminate on floor" guy.

"touching powder" (triiodine nitride) is already messy stuff. It leaves purple iodine marks after it goes off if you put too much of it anywhere, but what you are "not suggesting" would involve mopping a mercury salt onto a surface where people walk. Remember that mercury is a cumulative poison. Also, mercury iodide is one of the nastiest explosives ever. From batch to batch you can get variation between "won't go off unless match is held to it" and "will go off while you think it's still safe".

Good thing you never suggested that anyone do this, then.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:34 am UTC
by ks_physicist
Psy-Kosh wrote:I haven't read through the entire thread yet, so someone may have posted this idea, but one cool and easy thing is this: cheap laser pointer + pliers (with wire cutting/stripping section) = instant demo of single slit diffraction.



Another neat way to demo diffraction is to pluck a hair from your head and stretch it over the laser pointer opening.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:12 pm UTC
by Wixx
Pro tip: Following directions from texts from 80's BBS' = not always FTW. My friends and I accidentally created a gas that was toxic, and melted the container it was in... Luckily this was done outside. Still no idea how what reacted to make the gas.

Pro tip #2: If you're following the ingredients for a recipe, never NEVER mistake diesel for gasoline. Or vice versa.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:52 am UTC
by Yellowmelon
I have two good ones.

Everyone knows about the classic vinegar and baking soda reaction, but if you have some pumps and tubes you can have a lot more fun with it. Hook it up so that you can shoot vinegar out of a tube so you have a vinegar jet with decent range. By the way, this experiment is a little messy. :D if you don't have a pump you can always just have vinegar pouring down. the important thing is that the vinegar is airborne, but upward motion helps slow down the baking soda. once your vinegar is flowing pretty strong, throw the baking soda into the stream. if the baking soda stays airborne long enough, you can see the reaction as the baking soda falls to the ground. it looks kinda like a marshmallow is growing in midair. this reaction is a lot more fun, though much shorter, then the classic 2-D foam you normally see. i also tried diet coke and mentos with this, but the reaction is too slow and it wont start in mid-air.

another good one is about air pressure. if you get a SEALED plastic bag and put four straws through it you can easily lift about 250 pounds. make sure the only holes in the bag are where the straws enter it. put a flat piece of wood about the same size as the bag on top of the bag so that the straws can still be blown into. have the biggest person you have handy sit or stand on the wood. if four people blow gently into the bag, they will easily inflate it and lift the person sitting on the wood. its not that astonishing, but its good for showing off how much force air can exert on something.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:57 am UTC
by blakat1313
A couple of fun microwave experiments people left out:

1) Wad up some tin foil and put it in the microwave. This creates a nice light show due to stored up current in the foil. Also, it creates some pretty nasty smelling fumes, so do it in a well-ventilated area. This works with essentially any metal which comes close to touching. (forks are good) This is the reason that most people say not to put metal in microwaves, as well. The current could arc to the microwave and short out the magnetron tube. (microwave gun)

2)Put a fluorescent light bulb in the microwave. Unlike a standard light bulb, this will only glow as if it were placed in current. This is likely due to the different gasses present in the kinds of light bulbs.

3)If you have an old microwave that you don't mind being messy, throw an egg in there. This is a really neat experiment because the egg explodes due to built up pressure. (just like dry ice bombs) The problem is that it leaves you with a microwave full of partially scrambled eggs.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:43 pm UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
blakat1313 wrote:3)If you have an old microwave that you don't mind being messy, throw an egg in there. This is a really neat experiment because the egg explodes due to built up pressure. (just like dry ice bombs) The problem is that it leaves you with a microwave full of partially scrambled eggs.

Brainiac did this with an ostrich egg, it blew the microwave to pieces :P

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:03 pm UTC
by blakat1313
Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if they threw explosives in there with it. Brainiac frequently does things to create results that they assume mimic what they would get normally. Most prominent on the list is the sodium fiasco.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:31 am UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
I know a carton of eggs blows the door clean off and busts the microwave up pretty bad, so an ostrich egg probably would blow it up.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:56 pm UTC
by Kuuchu
I love this thread now that I've read through the whole thing. ;w;
I'm sorry I don't really have a great experiment to offer up right now, but my dad showed me one with setting an empty bottle of Gin on fire?
I'll have to ask him about it when I see him next.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:31 pm UTC
by ducksan
Empty bottles of flammable liquid, even 80-proof firewater, make a neat effect if you light the vapors. This can produce a loud and powerful jet flame if there's too much vapor, though. Careful.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:37 am UTC
by raptor.fortress
Oh there's so many out there.
A 'Taser' from a capacitor in a disposable camera is always a fun afternoon.

Building a small model engine is right up there on the list.

A sterling engine out of various bits and pieces.
A simple steam engine (if you've got yourself a workshop).

Breaking a beer bottle with a 5cent coin is another interesting time.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:00 pm UTC
by oxoiron
raptor.fortress wrote:Breaking a beer bottle with a 5cent coin is another interesting time.
Details, please.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:25 am UTC
by raptor.fortress
5 cent or your smallest denomination down the neck, swirl around and then quickly reverse direction of swirl. There's quite a knack to it.

I'm really not too sure why it works, it's an old trick my dad showed me.

I just tried it and couldn't get it to work, perhaps glass bottoms were thinner back in the day.

As always, a foul mouthed Hungarian has shown us the way:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK_eDfBenog

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 1:15 pm UTC
by Mekmek
oxoiron wrote:
raptor.fortress wrote:Breaking a beer bottle with a 5cent coin is another interesting time.
Details, please.

This has something to do with how dams work. At least thats how my books explained it back then. Pressure on the inside does more damage then pressure from outside. Also try crushing an egg with your hand for further understanding of the topic. :roll:

raptor.fortress wrote:5 cent or your smallest denomination down the neck, swirl around and then quickly reverse direction of swirl. There's quite a knack to it.

I just tried it and couldn't get it to work, perhaps glass bottoms were thinner back in the day.

You can definitely bust a ballon even without changing direction.
Afair with the bottles, swirling isn't enough. You have to shake it, so the coin hits the walls with as much speed as possible. Eventually they'll break.
Although I too believe, that bottle consistency has improved over the years.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:15 am UTC
by raptor.fortress
Mekmek wrote: try crushing an egg with your hand for further understanding of the topic.


isn't this meant to be without using your thumb?

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:39 am UTC
by StrixVanAllen
# I know only very simple experiments...

# Cleaning silverware.

# You'll need: a "dirty" silver object (by "dirty", I mean "black"), aluminum paper and/or a aluminum pan, sodium bicarbonate and water.

# How to do: Put the silver object on a pan and cover it with water. If the pan isn't made of aluminum (or if you don't want to have black spots on it), cover the object with aluminum paper. Pour some sodium bicarbonate in the water. Warm it. The object will shine again, and you won't have to polish it anymore. It's a good method to avoid loss of silver in objects and loss of skin in your hand. :D

# Boiling water without fire

# You'll need: water and a syringe (without the needle).

# How to do: Put a little water in the syringe (about 1/6 or 1/5 of its volume). Cover the extremity tightly (with the finger, or any other thing you can wonder). Pull the piston as fast as possible. The water will boil, due to the abrupt decrease of the pressure.

# (And now... fire! \o/)

# Fire without matches

# You'll need: If you get lost in a forest with alcohol, sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate, you won't need matches! \o\

# How to do: Mix the sulfuric acid with the potassium permanganate. Use a stick to pick some of the mixture. In another stick, put a piece of cotton soaked with alcohol. Then, join the two sticks.

# Be careful the alcohol don't slip to your hand, or you won't enjoy the fire at all. =3

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:31 am UTC
by badgeroffire
I'll play with a pair of sunglasses to find out whats reflecting polarized light. Its pretty interesting what will do it (the sky, light reflected from water, LCDs). I only wonder what think when they see me playing with sunglasses.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:54 am UTC
by von Eisenstein
Well this morning I was at a lab in NY, and we were working on inoculating stuff (not important). But what was important was we were using ethyl alcohol to sterilize the tools and whatnot. So this was like the first time I'd used ethyl alcohol to sterilize, and you're supposed to dip the tool in a beaker of ethyl alcohol, then light it by running it over a Bunsen burner. The alcohol burns, and sterilizes the tool. Like I said, it was the first time I've done it, so I didn't exactly know that the ethyl alcohol flame can be really really hard to see against a the dark background of the table. So I ran the tool through the flame, and thought I didn't see anything.
So I immediately dipped it back in the alcohol to do it again.
FOOF the beaker of ethyl alcohol ignited (I had obviously carried a very small flame back over) and I was left with a glass full of flickering, bouncing blue flames. (I smothered it with aluminum foil before the lab supervisor noticed.)
A couple minutes later I was sterilizing something else, and I kinda made the same mistake. >.>;; Oops.
Then this person working across the table from me muttered "I have got to do that..." so I gave him the beaker and reminded him that it was probably important to move the soaked tool to the beaker before the flame died. So FOOF that beaker was ignited three times in the space of half an hour. I was lucky it didn't crack, and lucky that nobody noticed, apart from the people at my table. The irony was, minutes later, another group working at a table behind us yelled "OUR ALCOHOL IS ON FIRE."

Well anyway. The point of all this is:
Isn't ethyl alcohol the same stuff you find in vinegar, wine, etc?
If so, can't you technically distill your own concentrated ethyl alcohol in your house? I mean, I don't have a distiller at home, but give me 2 hours without my parents at home and I can hook up plastic tubing to a water dispenser and drape that over a coffeemaker which is filled with vinegar, and there would be a large aluminum pan under everything to collect the condensed liquid dripping off the tubing...
...it wouldn't be terribly efficient, and I would have to worry about keeping the temperature at exactly the boiling point of ethyl alcohol, but I would be able to obtain a couple ounces within 30 minutes, don't you think?

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:28 am UTC
by blakat1313
Most alcohol is in the form of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) but vinegar is very far from that. Vinegar starts as ethanol (the plain white vinegar, anyway) but bacteria turn it into acetic acid. Try it with everclear, but don't expect results from vinegar.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:42 am UTC
by dragon
My mother, with the use of a pot, an oven bag, a turkey baster, and a piece of string, turned a large amount of undrinkably terrible wine into a much smaller amount of undrinkably bad distilled spirits, that could at least be added to other highly flavoured things and create a nice, mildly alcoholic drink.

The setup was approximately a stove hotplate on a very low heat, with the wine in the pot, the oven bag tied over the top with string, and around the turkey baster on the other side, to drip down into an empty bottle. It would probably work a lot better if you had access to a proper distillery apparatus, with running cool water to condense the gaseous ethanol. I imagine a lot was lost to the environment through this method.

I wonder, does this classify as 'moonshine'? I've no idea if distilling alcohol at home is illegal in australia. (It is in a lot of countries, so this may not be advisable as a 'home experiment'. /disclaimer)

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:52 am UTC
by Kasperl
You need to pay tax in Belgium and Holland, but I think that at least in New Zealand it's legal to home-distill. You really, really want to be careful with methanol poisoning though.

As for lighting lab ethanol on fire: A friend of mine did that, but just because he was too hungover to think properly.

Re:

Posted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:50 pm UTC
by pyrodude150
hyperion wrote:Fire is a plasma, and other forms of plasma aren't hard to find.


fire is not any state of matter, it is a chemical reaction

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:56 pm UTC
by alterant
StrixVanAllen wrote:# Boiling water without fire

# You'll need: water and a syringe (without the needle).

# How to do: Put a little water in the syringe (about 1/6 or 1/5 of its volume). Cover the extremity tightly (with the finger, or any other thing you can wonder). Pull the piston as fast as possible. The water will boil, due to the abrupt decrease of the pressure.


I was skeptical, but I tried it. I do see gas bubbles in the water, which is probably what you saw & thought was boiling. They do not come only from an imperfect seal, which was my wife's theory. You can test that by laying the thing on its side - the bubbles form nowhere near any potential leak points.

However, I'm almost sure it's dissolved gas coming out of solution, much like CO2 does when you reduce the pressure in a can of pop by opening it. To prove it to yourself more or less, try doing it once, getting rid of the gas that just formed, and then doing it again. When I tried that, the second time around I see little to no bubbling, suggesting the gas is now out of solution. If you're right and it's boiling, then that should have no effect and I could do it as many times as I please.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:37 pm UTC
by pyrodude150
Mekmek wrote: try crushing an egg with your hand for further understanding of the topic.


sigged

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:35 am UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
Well yesterday in chemistry, we were making Esters, and once again, I did something wrong and ended up filling the classroom with the most delightful smell.

I put 1mL of Propanoic acid, 5 drops of Sulpheric Acid, and 2mL of Methanol, in that order, into a test tube and then put in it in a beaker. I put the beaker on the bunsen to boil.
After about 5 minutes of boiling, I gave it a sniff, and it smelled mildly ok, and asked a classmate to sniff it, and they reckoned it smelled like vomit.
I gave it about another 10 minutes of boiling, then I decided to dump it, so I put the test tube under the tap and cleaned it out, and then put the test tube away and then suddenly there was a terrible terrible smell of vomit radiating from my area throughout the whole class. IT WAS DISGUSTING.

Try it, right before you leave chemistry, so the next class has to put up with it.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:52 am UTC
by i.t.homp
i thoroughly enjoy making napalm. gasoline and styrofoam, just dissolve the styrofoam until no more does, then i find the best/coolest/safest thing to do is either pour the mixture onto a fan, light it, then turn on the fan (works best with old metal fans), or just pour designs on concrete and light it

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:06 am UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
"then i find the best/coolest/safest thing to do is either pour the mixture onto a fan, light it, then turn on the fan"

Um...

So you find having flaming napalm being spun into the air and landing all over you to be enjoyable? Great.

To be honest, making this stuff is dangerous to begin with, as the vapours of Petrol (gasoline) do tend to go bang. And from my experience, while burning it can spit, and that burns very very badly.

Fun With Napalm:
Equipment:
    50m extension cord, or longer
    A lightbulb
    Napalm fluid
    A lightbulb attachment
    A large metal frame (Not your schools monkey bars)
    A large concrete or dirt surface
    Intelligence

Method:
    Carefully seperate the glass bulb from the metal attachment.
    Fill glass bulb with napalm.
    Glue the glass bulb and metal attachment together again.
    Connect the Light socket to the extension cord.
    Hang the extension cord with light socket end over the metal frame, and make sure it is secured.
    Connect Light Bulb to socket.
    Retreat back to 50 metres or more.
    Turn light on.
    Profit!

***WARNING*** DO NOT DO THIS NEAR ANYTHING FLAMMABLE, LIKE GRASS, WOOD, TREES, SMALL CHILDREN AND THE INSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE. IF YOU PUT THIS IN THE LIGHT SOCKET IN YOUR LOUNGE, YOU WILL BURN YOUR HOSUE DOWN, AND YOU WILL PROBABLY DIE. STAND AT LEAST FIFTY METRES, OR EVEN BETTER, ONE HUNDRED METRES FROM THE LIGHTBULB. HAVE A DRY POWDER FIRE EXTINGUISER READY, DO NOT USE WATER ON IT AS IT WILL PROBABLY EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE AND SET YOU ON FIRE.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:37 pm UTC
by itchebobo
This may be one of the coolest experiments I've ever seen.
It redefines the notion of "playing with fire".

http://www.i-am-bored.com/bored_link.cfm?link_id=27001

Note that I have not tried it yet, but a friend of mine has.
He used fabric made of 80% cotton though, so he could not safely touch the fire ball.

I advise trying this outside over stone pavement or alternatively over a bathtub.

Have fun :twisted:

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:51 pm UTC
by Chfan
That...is...AWESOME.

It's probably really dangerous, though.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:43 pm UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
Chfan wrote:That...is...AWESOME.

It's probably really dangerous, though.


If you're talking about the Fire Balls, then no, not really.
I haven't managed to actually view it because the school has blocked that site, but I'm guessing they're the balls of cotton threaded up into a permanent ball and then covered with lighter fuel and lit on fire.
Now... You can hold the balls on the palm of your hand quite comfortably, providing you haven't absolutly soaked the balls in lighter fuel, as it will drip onto your hands and burn.
However, you can hold them on the palm of your hand with no pain at all, just don't stick your other hand over it or it WILL burn. I presume this has somethign to do with the light fuel vapourising and drifting upwards.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:40 am UTC
by Chfan
Then why doesn't it hurt when you hold the part where you can SEE flames licking up? Is it because the ball only burns where your hands are not?

And yes, it is the ones you're talking about.

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 12:22 pm UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
Chfan wrote:Then why doesn't it hurt when you hold the part where you can SEE flames licking up? Is it because the ball only burns where your hands are not?

And yes, it is the ones you're talking about.


If you don't actually hold it, but just rest it on your hand it won't burn, if you grip it, it will burn. i'm not to sure what you're getting at there though?

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:52 pm UTC
by Chfan
What I meant was it was the balls with string tied around. What I asked was why there are no flames where you rest it on your hand...

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:46 pm UTC
by Office_Shredder
Easy to make CO2 bombs. Take a plastic bottle (preferably one filled with soda, as water bottles tend to not do as well under pressure) that you don't mind blowing up. Fill it up about halfway with water. Put some chunks of dry ice in it, and get the hell away from it. Watch the bottle expand from the pressure of the dry ice evaporating (not the right word, but whatever solid to gas is... sublimating or something like that) and eventually exploding. For extra fun, try using a 2 liter coke bottle. Pro-tip: If you put the bottle in water with a cinder block, you'll break the cinder block. You can also launch a garbage can a good 15ish feet in the air if you put one upside down over the bottle

Re: Favorite home experiments

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:56 pm UTC
by The-Rabid-Monkey
Chfan wrote:What I meant was it was the balls with string tied around. What I asked was why there are no flames where you rest it on your hand...

Hmm ok. I couldn't really give you a proper explanation to that really.

Office_Shredder wrote:Easy to make CO2 bombs. Take a plastic bottle (preferably one filled with soda, as water bottles tend to not do as well under pressure) that you don't mind blowing up. Fill it up about halfway with water. Put some chunks of dry ice in it, and get the hell away from it. Watch the bottle expand from the pressure of the dry ice evaporating (not the right word, but whatever solid to gas is... sublimating or something like that) and eventually exploding. For extra fun, try using a 2 liter coke bottle. Pro-tip: If you put the bottle in water with a cinder block, you'll break the cinder block. You can also launch a garbage can a good 15ish feet in the air if you put one upside down over the bottle

LPG bombs are much more fun :D I forget the best cobination, but I think it is 1:2 LPG:Oxygen, although I am probably wrong. But of you weigh it down with something in a 50 gallon drum fileld with water, it will blow the drum apart, and if you were stupid enough to put a lid on the drum, it'll fire that a few metres into the air.
However, you need to set it off with a spark, so a detonator is required, or you can use a long stick with a flame on the end, but you'll probably blow yourself up.