Experiments, lexicographically ordered

On this webpage, the experiments are ordered lexicographically by means of the most important chemical element, investigated in the experiment. All chemicals, required for the experiment are mentioned as well, so one can see at once, what is needed to perform the experiment. Compounds, mentioned in green are not really required for the experiment itself, but are needed for safe disposal or cleanup.

The webpages, marked with an asterisk (*), are fully worked out. The other webpages are not completely worked out pages, but they definitely can be used as a basis for interesting ideas.

 

  element required compound link to experiment
 

Ag

AgNO3

NaOH

NH3 (5%)

organic reductor, e.g. glucose or glycerol

Formation of a silver mirror. A shiny silver mirror is prepared from a mix of an ammoniacal silver solution and a reducing organic.

*

Ag

AgNO3

HNO3 (dilute)

CaC2 ("carbide")

Preparation of a high explosive . Acetylene gas is bubbled through an acidic solution of silver nitrate. Silver acetylide is formed under these conditions.

*

Ag, Mg

AgNO3

Mg (powder)

Water-initiated light and smoke . A mix of silver nitrate and magnesium powder is ignited with some water.

*

Ag

Na2S2O8

HNO3 (dilute)

AgNO3 (or Ag2O)

NaOH

Very high oxidation state of silver with persulfate. Silver(I) ions are oxidized to the +3 oxidation state with persulfate.

*

Al, Cu, Cl

Al (foil)

NaCl

CuSO45H2O

HCl (10%)

Influence of combination of copper ions and chloride ions on reactivity of aluminium. A violent reaction only occurs, when both type of ions are present.

*

B

H3BO3

CH3OH

CH3CH2OH

Green fire . Methanol, or ethanol, in which some boric acid is dissolved, burns with a bright green flame.

 

B

NH(CH3)2BH3

Green fire with boron compound. Dimethyl amine borane complex burns with a green flame.

*

Ba

BaCO3 (cheap pottery grade)

HCl (dilute, but fairly pure grade)

H2O2

Preparation of barium chloride from potteries grade barium carbonate. A procedure for making good grade barium chloride, suitable for chemical experiments and qualitative analysis, is presented in this webpage.

*

Ba, Cs

KBrO3

S8

any soluble Ba-salt

any soluble Cs-salt

Beautiful green and blue light . Barium bromate and cesium bromate are made, and a mix of these with sulphur is burned, giving beautiful flame colors.

*

Bi, I, Br

Bi(NO3)3xH2O

HNO3 (dilute)

HCl (dilute)

NaCl

KBr

KI

Bismuth complexes with halogens. Bismuth in its +3 oxidation state forms a black precipitate with iodide ions, and a deep orange complex is formed when excess iodide ion is present. Chloride and bromide also form complexes.

*

Br

KBr

K2Cr2O7 (or subst.)

Synthesis of potassium bromate. It is shown how potassium bromate can be made by means of electrolysis.

*

Br

NaBr

NaHSO4 (pH-minus)

Any soluble hexavalent chromium compound

Bromine from OTC compounds. Bromine is prepared from standard swimming pool chemicals. Only a very small amount of chromate or dichromate is needed, but this can be made easily as well (no need to isolate and purify this).

*

Br, Al

Br2

Al (foil)

HCl (10%)

Na2SO3

Reaction between bromine and aluminium, spontaneous ignition of aluminium after some delay . Aluminium foil is added to some liquid bromine.

* Br, I

NaBrO3

NH4NO3

HIO3

NH3 (12% or better)

Ammonium halates, unstable compounds . Ammonium bromate and ammonium iodate are prepared and it is demonstrated how easily and violently they decompose on slight heating. This is a nice and fairly spectacular experiment, but it should not be scaled up.
*

Br, N

Br2-water

NH3 (10%)

Formation of dense smoke from bromine and ammonia . Bromine vapor is poured into air, containing ammonia gas.

* Ca

CaCl2

NaHCO3

Explanation of what happens when hard water is heated. This experiment is a nice and safe demonstration and explanation of what happens when hard water is boiled.

*

Ca

Ca (pure metal)

HCl (dilute)

Reaction between calcium and water - heat of reaction

*

Cl

KCl

CsCl (optional)

K2Cr2O7 (optional)

HCl (dilute, optional)

Tutorial for making a miniature electrolysis cell for chlorate production. This is not really an experiment, it is a description of how one can setup a nice small electrolysis cell, suitable for making chlorates from chlorides. The good working of this cell is demonstrated for making potassium chlorate and cesium chlorate.

*

Cl

NaClO3

HCl (30%)

Ca(ClO)2xH2O

Colored gases - chlorine and chlorine dioxide . Chlorine gas and chlorine dioxide are made. A comparison is made of the intensity of their colors.

*

Cl

NaClO2

HCl (30%)

Explosive properties of chlorine dioxide . The brightly colored chlorine dioxide gas is prepared and ignited. This results in a nice and quite spectacular decompositon reaction.

*

Cl

NaClO2

HCl (≥ 25%)

NH3 (5%)

Explosion of chlorine dioxide, initiated by presence of ammonia . Another experiment, which demonstrates the danger of chlorine dioxide. This experiment shows how chlorine dioxide can be brought to explosion, simply by adding a few drops of household ammonia.

 

Cl

NH3 (5%)

CuSO45H2O

organic swimming pool chlorine

Funny experiments with organic swimming pool chlorine. Several funny experiments with TCCA. Smoke production, formation of strange precipitates.

*

Cl, N

N2H4 (dilute, 20%)

HClO4 (dilute, 20%)

Violent decomposition of hydrazine perchlorate and fairy-like sparkles. A small quantity of hydrazine perchlorate is prepared and this compound is heated, leading to a peculiar fairy-like sparkling when heating is not too strong and violent deflagration on stronger heating.

*

Cl, O

H2O2 (30%)

swimming pool tablets

Red chemiluminiscence with chlorine swimming pool chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide is added to sodium dichloro isocyanurate or to calcium hypochlorite. A nice red chemiliminiscent light is produced.

 

Cl, Br, I

Cl2

Br2

I2

Colored gases from halogens. Halogens are mixed, and the interhalogen compounds formed are shown in their vapor state.

*

Cl, Br, I, N

N2H4.2HCl

Ca(OCl)2

NaClO2

KClO3

KBrO3

KIO3

KIO4

Reactivity of different oxohalogenate ions. Several oxohalogenate compounds are added to a concentrated solution of hydrazine dihydrochloride. In many cases this leads to a reaction, some of them being very violent. A comparison is made of the reactivity of the different oxohalogenate ions at room temperature.

*

Cl

Cl2

CaC2 ("carbide")

Violent 'combustion' of acetylene in chlorine gas, explosions without need of supplying heat . Acetylene gas is bubbled into chlorine and this leads to violent explosions.

 

Co

CoCl26H2O

Preparation of anhydrous cobalt(II) chloride. Careful heating of hydrated cobalt chloride produces the anhydrous compound.

*

Co, Hg

HCl (30%)

HgCl2

NH4SCN

any water soluble cobalt(II) salt

Colorful and really remarkable chemistry. In this experiment some amazing color changes can be observed. A beautiful bright red solution is prepared from which slowly very bright blue crystals are precipitated. Beautiful contrasts are produced in this experiment.

*

Cr

Cr (pure metal)

HCl (30%)

Divalent chromium, extreme sensitivity to aerial oxidation. Chromium metal is dissolved in conc. hydrochloric acid with exclusion of air, and then it is shown how easily the resulting chromium(II) species are oxidized.

*

Cr

K2Cr2O7

(NH4)2Cr2O7

HNO3 (concentrated)

P (red)

Na2SO3

Synthesis and properties of polychromates. Trichromates are produced by recrystallization from conc. nitric acid. Some properties, including a spectacular decomposition reaction, are shown.

 

Cr

K2Cr2O7

Cr2(SO4)312H2O

Anhydrous chromium(III) sulfate from concentrated sulphuric acid? Concentrated sulphuric acid, with dissolved chromium compounds, is heated and a precipitate is formed.

*

Cr

K2Cr2O7

H2SO4 (dilute)

HCl (dilute)

HNO3 (dilute)

CH3CH2OH

K2S2O5 (or subst.)

Reduction of dichromate - different colors of reaction product due to complex formation. Dichromate is reduced. The color of the resulting chromium(III) depends on the reductor used, and the anions, present in that solution.

*

Cr

(NH4)2CrO4

Nice dendritic crystal structures. Ammonium chromate is dissolved and the solution is allowed to evaporate to dryness.

*

Cr

H2O2

K2Cr2O7

KOH

Synthesis of potassium tetraperoxo chromate(V). A detailed description (recipe) for making the energetic compound K3CrO8.

*

Cr

H2O2

(NH4)2CrO4

NH3 (25%)

Synthesis of triammine diperoxo chromium(IV). This is a description of how to make another very energetic chromium peroxo compound. Also some properties of the prepared compound are shown.

*

Cr

K2Cr2O7

HCl (≥ 25%, high purity reagent)

 

Na2SO3

HCl (dilute, hardware store)

Synthesis of potassium chlorochromate(VI). The compound potassium chlorochromate(VI) can easily be prepared. In this webpage it is demonstrated how this can be done with acceptable yield. The resulting chemical compound can be kept indefinitely and may be interesting for further experiments.

 

Cr

K3CrO8

Explosive properties of peroxo chromates. A synthesis method for this chemical is given, and its explosive properties are shown.

 

Cr

K2Cr2O7

H2O2

any mineral acid

Beautiful effects with potassium dichromate and hydrogen peroxide. Potassium dichromate crystals are sprinkled on a highly diluted acidic hydrogen peroxide solution. The effect is stunning.

*

Cr

K2Cr2O7

NaF

NaCl

H2SO4 (concentrated)

H2O2

Fun with volatile chromium - chromyl chloride . A really beautiful experiment with chromyl chloride vapor, which is poured on a very dilute acidic hydrogen peroxide solution.

* Cr

H2O2

Na2Cr2O72H2O

C5H5N (pyridine)

Na2SO3

H2SO4

Chromium peroxo pyridine complex and its properties. A dark blue insoluble peroxo complex of chromium is made, and some further experiments are performed with this compound. This experiments shows some remarkable color combinations and the peroxo complex is remarkably stable under reducing conditions.
*

Cr

K2Cr2O7

NaF

NaCl

H2SO4 (concentrated)

Na2SO3

Volatile compounds of chromium - another colored gas . Preparation of chromyl fluoride and chromyl chloride.

*

Cr, P

K3CrO8

P (red)

Al (powder)

Explosive mix with red phosphorus and a peroxo chromate . A remarkably powerful and sensitive explosive mix is obtained by mixing potassium tetraperoxochromate(V) and red P.

*

Cr

KCr(SO)412H2O

NH3 (5% and 12%)

HCl (10%)

NaOH

Chromium(III) coordination chemistry. This is a simple experiment which shows that by simple boiling an aqueous solution of chromium(III) ions forms a complex with anions present in solution by means of ligand exchange. The experiment demonstrates this effect with sulfate anions, but the effect also exists for many other anions. The ligand exchange is accompanied with a strong change of color.

*

Cu

CuSO45H2O

NH3 (5%)

NaOH

Na2SO3

C6H8O5Na (sodium L-ascorbate)

Na2S2O42H2O

Copper redox and coordination chemistry. A series of experiments in which redox and coordination properties of copper are shown. Copper has a very rich aqueous chemistry and this set of experiments shows some of this rich chemistry.

* Cu

CuSO45H2O

KIO4

KOH

Na2S2O8

Formation of a complex of copper in oxidation state +3. Copper can be oxidized to the +3 oxidation state if it is coordinated to orthoperiodate ions. This complex is stable in aqueous solution, and it has a deep red color, which is very special for copper compounds.
* Cu

CuSO45H2O

KSCN

Na2SO3

HNO3

Complex chemistry of copper in combination with thiocyanate. Copper exhibits an interesting chemistry when it is combined with thiocyanate ion. An intricate interplay of coordination chemistry and redox chemistry leads to many surprising compounds with nice colors.
* Cu

CuSO45H2O

HBr (48%)

HCl (30%)

KBr

 

Unexpected colors with copper(II) ions in the presence of halogenide at high concentration. Copper(II) ions form intensely colored red/purple complex ions with bromide at low pH and high concentration.
* Cu, S

CuSO45H2O

Na2SO3

Na2S2O5

H2SO3

NaOH

Redox chemistry and coordination chemistry of copper(II) and sulfite at different pH. Sulfite ion and copper(II) ion can react in different ways. Coordination complexes can be formed, but they also can interact in a redox reaction. Quite remarkable compounds can be formed in these reactions. The pH of the solutions has great influence on the actual reactions occurring.
* Cu

organic

 

CuI

KI

C5H5N

CH3COCH3

A fluorescent compound of copper. This is an experiment, which is not well known. The effect demonstrated in this experiment, however, is striking and it is a shame that so few people know it. A white compound is prepared which exhibits beautiful bright yellow fluorescence under black-light.
* Cu

organic

CuCO3Cu(OH)2

CH3COOH

CH2ClCOOH

CCl3COOH

HCOOH

CH3CH2COOH

CH3C(OH)HCOOH

Inductive effect demonstrated by properties of copper acetate and related complexes. In this experiment, copper acetate, but also several substituted and related compounds are prepared. Their properties are compared and a good explanation can be given by the inductive effect.
 

Cu, Sr, Li

CuCl2 (or its hydrate)

SrCl2 (or its hydrate)

LiCl (or LiBr)

Colored flames with metal salts. Metals salts are mixed/dissolved in ethanol, soaked in paper and ignited.

* Cu, Cs

CuCl22H2O

CsCl

HCl (30%)

 

CoCl26H2O (optional)

FeCl36H2O (optional)

Red complex of copper and chloride. A really beautiful and remarkable solid chloro complex of copper is produced. The complex has copper in oxidation state +2 and has a bright red color, which is very special for copper in oxidation state +2. A few other similar complexes of other metals are described as well through this webpage.
* Fe

 

FeCl36H2O

FeSO47H2O

NH3

HCl

Preparation of a compound with magnetic properties. Only very mundane chemicals and equipment are needed in this simple, but funny experiment. A precipitate of magnetite is prepared and the precipitate is drawn through a test tube by moving a strong magnet around the test tube.
* Fe

 

K3Fe(CN)6

CH3COOH (white vinegar)

(NH4)3[Fe(C2O4)3]

instead of "ferric ammonium oxalate", "ferric ammonium citrate" can be used as well

Cyanotype, the dawn of photography. One of the oldest processes for making permanent images is demonstrated in this experiment. Using simple chemicals and tools an image (a blue print) is made from flat objects like leaves. The word 'blue print' originally stems from this process.
*

Fe, Mn,

Cl

any soluble Mn salt

any soluble Fe salt

bleach

Oxidizing power of bleach, bringing iron and manganese to highest oxidation state. Simple household bleach is capable of oxidizing iron to its +6 oxidation state and manganese to its +7 oxidation state.

*

H, O

H2SO4

Electrolysis of water -- detonating gas. Water is decomposed by means of electrolysis of a dilute sulphuric acid solution. The resulting gases are mixed and the impressive explosive power of this gas mix is demonstrated.

*

Hg

HgCl2 (or Hg(NO3)2)

KI

Mercury iodide, change of color and complex formation. Mercury iodide is made and it is shown how its color changes immediately after its formation.

* Hg

HgI2

KI

AgNO3

CuCl22H2O (or sulfate)

Na2SO3

NaCl

Multiple compounds with a beautiful color, which depends on temperature . Mercury iodide and some derived compounds have beautiful colors, but even more surprising is the reversible change of color when the temperature is changed.
 

I, S

KIO4

S

Pyrotechnic mix with purple gaseous combustion product. Potassium periodate, mixed with sulphur gives a mix, which burns without smoke, but produces a nice purple gas mix of iodine and sulphur dioxide.

 

I

NaIO4

many metal salts

Colorful precipitates with periodate ion. Many metal salts are mixed with a solution of sodium metaperiodate.

*

I

H5IO6

NH3

NaOH

Preparation and properties of ammonium periodate. A simple experiment, in which ammonium (meta)periodate is made. This compound explodes when it is heated.
* I

I2

oleum (20% SO3)

 

Formation of cationic iodine species in oleum. Iodine is dissolved in oleum and the formation of a blue cationic species is demonstrated. Iodine is brought to oxidation state +, which is very special for iodine.
*

I

CHI3

Na2SO3

CH3COCH3

Decomposition of iodoform. Iodoform is heated and its decomposition products are shown.

*

I, Cl

KIO3

HCl (30%)

CH3COCH3

H2SO4

H2O2 (3%)

Na2SO3

Preparation of polyhalide salt of potassium. Potassium iodate is added to concentrated hydrochloric acid. Chlorine gas is formed, and needle-like crystals of potassium tetrachloroiodate(III) are formed as well. This is a remarkable polyhalide compound.

*

I, Cl

I2

Ca(ClO)2xH2O

Mg

HCl (dilute)

Na2SO3

Example of interhalogen compounds . Chlorine gas is made, and this gas is lead over iodine. Iodine monochloride and iodine trichloride are formed. The monochloride is reacted with magnesium.

*

I, N

KIO3

KH(IO3)2

NaNO2

Reaction between molten nitrite and iodate, formation of beautiful wine red gas mixes.

*

I, S

KIO4

NH4SCN

Colored smoke -- purple and yellow. A mix of potassium periodate and ammonium thiocyanate is ignited. This gives purple smoke, which quickly turns yellow. Quite a remarkable experiment.

* I, N

H5IO6

N2H4

alternatives based on KIO4 and salts of hydrazine are possible

Violent reaction between hydrazine and periodate. In this experiment it is demonstrated that hydrazine and periodate react extremely violently and so much heat is produced that iodine escapes as vapor, even from aqueous solutions!
* I, P

H5IO6

P (red)

Delayed self-ignition of mix of periodic acid and red phosphorus. Some red phosphorus and periodic acid are mixed. After a while, this mix suddenly self-ignites and a plume of fire and smoke is produced.
* I

NaI

NaOH

Cl2 (generated)

 

Synthesis of sodium orthoperiodate. Sodium orthoperiodate is prepared by leading chlorine gas through a solution of sodium iodide and sodium hydroxide. The nice thing of this synthesis is that it allows one to make periodate without needing access to any special chemicals besides the easy to obtain sodium iodide.
* I

KIO3

KOH

Cl2 (generated)

HNO3

Synthesis of potassium periodate. Potassium periodate is prepared by leading chlorine gas through a solution of potassium iodate and potassium hydroxide. Some acid is used to precipitate all of the periodate as the very sparingly metaperiodate.
*

Ir

"IrCl4"

HCl (dilute)

Na2SO3

Na2S2O8

NH3 (dilute)

Iridium -- goddess of the rainbow. All colors of the rainbow can be created from a single iridium compound and a few common other reagents. Iridium has a very rich redox and coordination chemistry.

*

K

KOH

Mg (coarse powder)

tert-butanol

Aliphatic solvent, boiling around 220 C, free of aromatics

Synthesis of potassium from magnesium and potassium hydroxide . This is an interesting and also remarkable synthesis of potassium, which can be carried out at very mild conditions and which only requires reactants which are not really hard to obtain.

*

Mg, I

Mg (powder)

I2

Na2SO3

Water-initiated violent reaction between magnesium and iodine. Magnesium and iodine are mixed, and a violent reaction is initiated by adding some water.

*

Mn

KMnO4

C12H22O11 (sugar)

NaOH

Chemical chameleon with permanganate. A dilute solution of potassium permanganate is reduced with an alkaline sugar solution. The solution slowly goes through many colors.

*

Mn, Ce

KBrO3

CH2(COOH)2

MnSO4xH2O

H2SO4 (dilute)

Ce(SO4)2xH2O

Oscillating reaction. The classical Bhelousov-Zhabotinsky reaction. A well-known classical, but very beautiful, experiment.

*

Mn

KMnO4

H2SO4(concentrated)

CH3COCH3

High speed image capturing of explosions . A drop of acetone is dripped on a mix of concentrated sulphuric acid and potassium permanganate. The resulting explosion is filmed at 60 frames per second.

*

Mn

KMnO4

H2SO4(concentrated)

CH3COCH3

Liquid from hell -- fire on first contact . This is a spectacular demonstration, very similar to the one above. Acetone, sticking to a glass rod, is put in a mix of conc. sulphuric acid and potassium permanganate.

*

Mn

KMnO4

H2SO4(concentrated)

CH3CH2OH

Miniature explosions in a test tube . Potassium permanganate is put in a test tube, containing sulphuric acid, with a layer of ethanol floating on top of the acid. This results in little flashes and crackling noise, after an induction period of a few minutes.

*

Mn

KMnO4

NaF

H2SO4 (concentrated)

Na2S2O5 (or Na2SO3)

A volatile compound of manganese and corrosion of glass . A volatile green compound of manganese(VII) is produced from potassium permanganate, sodium fluoride and conc. sulphuric acid.

 

Mn

MnO2

Al (powder)

P (red)

Flash powder with manganese dioxide. Manganese dioxide and fine aluminium powder make a powerful flash powder. With red P it can be ignited more easily.

* Mn

Mn (very pure 99.99%)

MnCl2 (hydrated is OK)

HCl (37%, reagent grade)

KMnO4 (reagent grade)

H2O2 (10% by weight)

Na2SO3

Properties of manganese(II) ion at very high concentration. In this experiment it is shown that manganese(II) ions in aqueous solution are pale pink, also at very high concentration and in the presence of concentrated hydrochloric acid. This is different from what some textbooks claim, which mention the existence of green complexes.
*

Mo

MoO3

ascorbic acid

NaH2PO2

Na2S2O8

H2SO4 (dilute)

NaOH

H2O2 (3% solution)

Colorful compounds of molybdenum. This experiment demonstrates the very interesting and colorful, but also rather incompletely understood chemistry of molybdenum in aqueous solution. All colors of the rainbow can be produced with molybdenum in aqueous solution.

 

N

Cu

HNO3 (≥ 50 %)

Properties of nitrogen oxides, NOx. Some nitrogen dioxide is made and it is shown that the color of the gas mix strongly depends on temperature.

 

N

HNO3 (≥ 50 %)

H2SO4 (concentrated)

CH3CH(OH)CH3

Violence of a nitration runaway. A simple experiment, in which a copious amount of nitrogen dioxide is made in a violent reaction. Nice for demo purposes.

*

N

NaNO2

KMnO4 (or MnO2)

H2O2 (3%)

HCl (10%)

Reaction in gas phase. Nitrogen monoxide and oxygen are prepared and mixed by setting up an apparatus with two glass bottles. As soon as the gases mix, a deep brown gas is formed.

*

N

N2O

CS2

Barking dog reaction . Nitrous oxide is mixed with carbon disulfide vapor and this mix is ignited. This results in a very spectacular reaction with bright light and an impressive barking noise.

 

N, C

CH3OH

NaNO2 (or KNO2)

HCl (10%)

A fast and complete formation of an inorganic ester. Methyl nitrite is prepared in this experiment and simply is isolated, because it bubbles out of solution.

*

N, C

HNO3 (≥ 60 %)

H2SO4 (concentrated)

NaHCO3

cellulose wadding

Nitration of a piece of cellulose wadding . A classical experiment, in which common white cellulose wadding is nitrated. The nitrated wadding quickly burns without smoke and without leaving any residue/ashes.

 

Na

Na

HCl (dilute)

Dangerous experiments with sodium metal. Sodium metal is put in dilute hydrochloric acid. The heat, produced in this reaction, ignites the hydrogen, formed in this reaction. This leads to a loud bang!

 

Na

phenolphtalein pH indicator

Sodium skirting over water surface. This is a very simple experiment. Some sodium is thrown in a tank, filled with water, in which some pH indicator is dissolved. This results in a nice visual effect.

*

Nb

Nb (sheet or stick)

HCl (10%)

NaF

HNO3 (≥ 50 %)

NaOH

Coloration of metallic niobium by means of electrolysis . Niobium metal is used as anode in an electrolysis setup. The metal is covered by an oxide layer. Quantum effects give beautiful colors to the metal with thin oxide layer.

*

Nd

Nd2O3

H2SO4 (dilute)

HNO3 (dilute)

HCl (dilute, colorless grade)

HCl (30+ %, reagent grade)

Narrow absorption bands of neodymium ions. In this experiment it is shown that the appearance of a solution of neodymium salts strongly depends on the type of light source, used for viewing the solution. The effect is really striking!

*

Ni

Na2S2O8

HNO3 (dilute) NiSO4xH2O

NaOH

Very high oxidation state of nickel with persulfate. Nickel is brought to +3 or even +4 oxidation state by persulfate ion under alkaline conditions.

* Ni

NiSO4xH2O

NaOH

KCN

H2SO4 (dilute)

H2O2

ligroin (boiling 40...60 C)

bleach

Nickel in oxidation state +1. In this experiment, nickel is brought to the remarkable oxidation state +1, which is very special for this metal, which usually is in oxidation state +2 in aqueous solutions.
*

O

H2O2

many metal salts

HCl (10%)

NH3 (5%)

Peroxo complexes of transition metals in high oxidation states. Many transition metals show colorful and sometimes remarkable peroxo complexes when they are in high oxidation states.

*

P, I

P (red)

KIO4 (or KClO4)

High speed image capturing of explosions with purple/pink smoke . Potassium periodate and red phosphorus are mixed and the mix is ignited. This gives an explosion, with formation of a pink cloud of smoke. High-speed images are made of this reaction.

* P, Cl

P (white)

NaOH

Cl2

bleach

HCl

Self-ignition of phosphine in chlorine gas . In this experiment some phosphine is prepared, some of its properties are shown, and the gas is bubbled in an atmosphere of chlorine, resulting in self-ignition of the gas and contraction of gas volume.
* P

P (red)

Conversion of red phosphorus to white phosphorus . This is a write-up on how one can convert red phosphorus to white phosphorus. The process described here is suitable for making a few grams of white phosphorus per batch.
 

P

P (red)

KClO3

Sensitivity of mix of potassium chlorate and red phosphorus. A mix of red phosphorus and potassium chlorate can be ignited, simply by lightly tapping on it with a smooth rod.

*

P, Cl, Al

P (red)

Cl2

KNO3

Al (powder)

Miniature fireworks (bright flashes) in a test tube. A mix of aluminium powder, potassium nitrate and red phosphorus is thrown in chlorine gas. This results in a very bright white flash.

*

P

P (red)

Br2

Synthesis and isolation of phosphorus tribromide . Phosphorus tribromide is prepared by means of careful addition of red phosphorus to bromine. By means of distillation the product is purified.

*

P, Br, Cl

P (red)

Br2

Cl2

Reaction between bromine/chlorine and phosphorus . Red phosphorus, when thrown in chlorine gas or bromine vapor, is ignited and continues burning in the gas.

*

Pb

Pb(NO3)2

Electrolysis, formation of lead crystals. A solution of lead nitrate in a petri dish is electrolysed. Crystals of lead metal are formed at the cathode.

 

Pb, I

Pb(NO3)2

KI

Nice effects in petri dish with yellow precipitate. Lead nitrate and potassium iodide are put in a petri dish, filled with water. The dissolved salts diffuse towards each other, giving nice effects.

*

Pb, I

PbI2

Lead iodide: color depending on temperature and decomposition. lead iodide is heated. If heating is not too strong, then it can change color reversibly from yellow to deep red.

*

Pb, I

Pb(CH3COO)33H2O

KI

CH3COOH (dilute)

"Golden" crystals of lead iodide. A yellow precipitate of lead iodide is made and dissolved in boiling water. On cooling down, beautiful glittering yellow crystals are formed.

*

Pr

Pr (pure metal)

PrCl3xH2O

HCl (30%)

Praseodymium chemistry. Praseodymium is dissolved in hydrochloric acid and some experiments are done with the resulting metal salt solution.

*

Rb, I, Cl

Rb2CO3

HIO3

HCl (30%)

A polyhalide compound of rubidium. Rubidium is known to form polyhalide compounds fairly easily, more so than the lighter alkali metals. In this experiment such a compound is prepared. During the preparation a beautiful crystalline precipitate is formed.

*

Re

Re (metal powder)

HNO3 (≥ 50 %)

HCl

Zn

SnCl22H2O

C6H8O5Na (sodium L-ascorbate)

NaOH

K2S2O5

NaBH4

Rhenium chemistry. Rhenium is dissolved in concentrated nitric acid, giving a solution of perrhenic acid. This solution is used as a starting point for several redox experiments.

*

Ru

Ru (metal powder)

bleach

NaOH

HCl (dilute)

H2SO4 (dilute)

K2S2O8

Zn

Na2SO3

Ruthenium chemistry. Ruthenium metal is dissolved in household bleach, giving a solution, containing ruthenate(VI) ion. This solution is used as a starting point for a large set of experiments, exploring the rich and colorful aqueous chemistry of this element.

*

S

S8

C6H5CH3

Recrystallization and/or refining of sulphur. Sulphur is dissolved in hot toluene and when this solution cools down, nice crystals of sulphur are formed.

 

S, Cr

SOCl2

H2SO4 (concentrated)

K2Cr2O7

Thionyl chloride and potassium dichromate, no reduction of dichromate without water. Potassium dichromate is dissolved in thionyl chloride. It is not reduced to chromium(III). With concentrated sulphuric acid and water, chromyl chloride and HCl are formed.

 

Sb

Sb2S3

HCl (30%)

Antimony sesquisulfide, stunning change of its appearance when it is hydrated. Some pyro-grade black antimony sesquisulfide is dissolved in conc. hydrochloric acid. When the solution is diluted, then hydrolysis occurs and a bright yellow precipitate of hydrated antimony sesquisulfide is produced.

*

Se

Se

HNO3 (≥ 50 %)

Zn

Na2SO3 (or Na2S2O5)

Allotropes of selenium. Gray selenium is dissolved in conc. nitric acid, giving selenous acid in solution. This solution in turn is reduced to selenium. The selenium now precipitates as the red allotrope.

* Se

Se

Na2S.xH2O

H2SO4 (dilute)

NaOH

Na2S2O8

Na2SeO3

SeO2

HBr (40%, 48%)

Na2SO3

Less common aspects of selenium chemistry . The element selenium has some interesting properties in combination with sulfide and bromide. It can form strongly colored species, which are stable in aqueous solution and can be studied without the need of exotic solvents.
* Si

SiO2

Mg

HCl (dilute)

Formation of a self-igniting gas from fine sand powder and magnesium . Magnesium metal and finely powdered sand are reacted to form magnesium silicide, which in contact with dilute acids produces self-igniting silane gas. This is a spectacular, but somewhat dangerous experiment.
*

Sn

Sn (preferably powder)

I2

CH2Cl2 or CS2

Preparation of tin(IV) iodide, a volatile covalent compound. Tin and iodine are made to react in a suitable solvent for iodine. Under these conditions the interesting compound tin(IV) iodide is formed, which can easily be isolated. Some properties of this compound are shown.

*

Sn

SnCl22H2O

KI

HCl (dilute)

Tin chloride and iodide, formation of a remarkable orange complex/precipitate. Tin chloride and potassium iodide, when added to each other, result in formation of yellow precipitate. At high concentration and after some time, this precipitate turns orange.

*

Te

Cl, Br, I

TeO2

Na2TeO3

HCl (30% by weight)

HBr (40% by weight)

H2SO4 (dilute)

KI

Na2SO3

Colorful properties of halogen complexes of tellurium in oxidation state +4. At very low pH, tellurium in oxidation state +4 forms remarkable compounds with the halide ions. The heavier the halogen, the more stable the complex and the more intense the color. All of these complexes, however, are very prone to hydrolysis in aqueous solution.

*

Te, Se, S

Te

Se

S

NaH2PO2H2O

Na2SxH2O

K2Cr2O7

H2SO4 (concentrated)

H2O2 (3%)

P4O10 (optional)

SO3 (20% oleum)

Poly cation species of tellurium and selenium, no similar reaction with sulphur under the same conditions. Tellurium and selenium are dissolved in hot concentrated sulphuric acid. The solutions contain remarkable cationic species with peculiar structure.

Sulphur does not show such a reaction in sulphuric acid, but it does react with oleum.

*

Ti

Ti (powder, granules)

HCl (30%)

H2O2 (3%)

Na2SO3

Na2S2O8

Aqueous chemistry of titanium. Titanium is dissolved in hydrochloric acid. The resulting purple solution is used as a starting point for exploring the metal's aqueous chemistry.

*

V, P, Cl

V2O5

PCl5

Volatile vanadium compound, leading to green gas and red smoke. Phosphorus pentachloride is capable of chlorinating vanadium pentoxide and the resulting compound is volatile and gives rise to formation of interesting green vapor and red smoke when it is heated.

*

V

V2O5

Zn (filings, granules)

NaOH

HCl (dilute)

Na2SO3

Colorful oxidation states of vanadium. Vanadium pentoxide is dissolved in a solution of sodium hydroxide. This solution is acidified and then the vanadium in its +5 oxidation state is reduced, all the way down to +2 oxidation state.

* V

V2O5

KOH

H2O2 (15%)

H2SO4 (dilute)

CH3CH2OH (96%)

P (red)

Isolation of peroxo complex of vanadium. In this experiment a peroxo complex of vanadium is made and this complex is isolated as a dry powdered solid. The isolated compound is stable on storage and has energetic properties. A mix with red phosphorus deflagrates on ignition.
*

Zn, Cu

Zn (granules or sheet)

ZnO

NaOH

Cu (coin)

dilute HNO3 / vinegar

Zinc plating of copper coin. A copper coin is zinc plated by putting it in an alkaline solution, containing zincate ions, while at the same time the coin touches a piece of metallic zinc.

 

 

 

 

* C, H different chemicals for each of the different experiments Color of the flame of burning gases. Different gases are collected in a test tube, sucked in a syringe, and then ignited. Many different flame colors can be obtained from different gases. Some flame colors are remarkable, such as pink/rose and grey.
*

physical

NaCl

Characteristics of an electrolysis cell. The voltage-current relation of an electrolysis cell is investigated in this experiment.

*

physical

NaCl

High voltage electrolysis, and creation of lightning . A strong salt solution is electrolysed, using a high voltage source and a plasma beam as anode. Some 'lightning' is produced as well.

 

physical

CH3CH2OH

CH3OH

H3BO3

Near-explosions of alcohol/air mixes in confined spaces. Alcohol vapor is ignited in flasks with long necks and long tubes.

 

organic

CH3NO2

NaOH

Violent reaction between nitromethane and sodium hydroxide. Nitromethane and sodium hydroxide are mixed. After a short induction time, a very violent reaction starts.

 

organic

CH3COCH3

styrofoam

Collapsing styrofoam. Acetone is sprinkled on a piece of styrofoam. The styrofoam literally collapses.

*

organic

HCOOH

CH3COOH

NaOH

Precision electrolysis of acetate and formiate. Acetate and formiate are electrolysed and based on the observations in this experiment, the net reactions are derived. A demonstration of what can be achieved with a combination of careful observation and reasoning.

*

organic

HClO4

NH2CH2CH2NH2

NaHCO3

Violent decomposition of an organic perchlorate salt. A perchlorate salt of a basic organic amine is prepared and it is shown how this salt decomposes violently when it is ignited.

*

organic

red cabbage

HCl (dilute, few percent)

CH3COOH (dilute)

dish washing soap

NH3 (5%)

Na2CO3 (or NaOH)

Fun with red cabbage. Red cabbage juice is treated with solutions of different pH. Surprising colors can be obtained in this way, much more than the well-known pink/rose to violet/blue colors, which one knows from the kitchen.

*

organic

phthalic anhydride

m-C6H4(OH)2 (resorcinol)

H2SO4 (concentrated)

NaOH

Beautiful green fluorescence -- synthesis of fluorescein. A strongly fluorescent compound is made and with a UV-LED the strong fluorescence is demonstrated in a spectacular way.

*

organic

C12H22O11 (plain sugar)

H2SO4 (concentrated)

Dehydration and oxidation of sugar by concentrated sulphuric acid. This is a spectacular experiment, in which sugar is charred by concentrated sulphuric acid and a lot of black foam, smoke and noise is produced.

 

technical

NaBr

KBrO3

H2SO4 (concentrated)

Making bromine by distillation. Bromine is made in an acidic solution and this is distilled in order to obtain the pure element. It is dried with concentrated sulphuric acid.

 

technical

HNO3 (≥ 60 %)

H2SO4 (concentrated)

Making 90% nitric acid. Ordinary concentrated nitric acid (60% or so) is transformed into very strong acid of 90+  % concentration by means of distillation.

 

technical

NH3 (dilute, 5%)

Concentrating and purification of ammonia. Ordinary household ammonia is concentrated and purified by heating the liquid, driving out the gas and leading that gas through distilled water. This process can be used to make very pure ammonia at a higher concentration than the plain household ammonia.

*

technical

KCl

CsCl (optional)

K2Cr2O7 (optional)

HCl (dilute, optional)

Tutorial for making a miniature electrolysis cell for chlorate production. This is not really an experiment, it is a description of how one can setup a nice small electrolysis cell, suitable for making chlorates from chlorides. The good working of this cell is demonstrated for making potassium chlorate and cesium chlorate.

 

 

 

 

*

N,

Si (specially processed material with I/O capabilities)

HNO3

Fe

Colorful gases with Fe, HNO3 and GiMp2.2.6. How the element silicon adds many colors to brown gases.

 

 

   

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