Thursday, January 10, 2008

chemical reaction



Via Boing Boing: via Wired Science blog: This video made me shout involuntarily. Watch as the liquid goes from clear to amber to blue to clear to amber to blue.

UPDATE: A few people, plus at least two sentient robots and a self-aware Jovian gas cloud, have written in to ask just what the hell is going on in that glass. I would have thought the robots, with their advanced brains, would have figured it out, but here goes anyway.

What you're looking at is known as an oscillating reaction. If done properly, the reaction will continue to occur for several minutes, until the solution settles at dark blue. This particular one is called the Briggs-Rauscher reaction, after the two high-school science teachers who came up with it in 1973. The reaction occurs when three different solutions are mixed together. I would go into greater depth, but I don't understand the chemistry behind it. For detailed instructions on how to create this reaction, along with an explanation for its niftiness, can be found here. Remember that chloride ions suppress the oscillating reaction, so make sure to pick up all the chloride ions you've got lying around and put them in a bag somewhere. And use distilled water.

No matter what you think of this process, it's definitely the coolest possible way to create a jar of deep blue liquid.

7 comments:

blackbird said...

I'm afraid I could watch that happen for a very long time.

i am the diva said...

WHOAH!! what the hell IS that???

sweetney said...

seriously dude, that's nuts. what is that stuff?

trinity67 said...

How'd they do that?!

palinode said...

blackbird - I like the repeated violent eruption of blue into the amber.

diva, sweetney, the 67th trinity - I'm going to update with an explanation. Or at least an overview, because apparently no one is quite sure how it works.

Mr. Saucy said...

Perhaps the beaker contains an invisible and somewhat aggravated cephalopod.

palinode said...

I wonder how they aggravate the cephalopod. Maybe invisibility is aggravating enough.