This gif shows a slightly sped up version of a classic chemistry experiment. When aluminium is added to a strong sodium hydroxide solution, it creates sodium aluminate and hydrogen gas. In this gif, the experiment is contained within this 2L Pepsi bottle. This means that the Hydrogen gas being produced greatly increases the pressure inside the bottle very quickly, weakening the plastic and causing it to explode.
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Sodium hydroxide is very corrosive. If you were in the vicinity of an exploding bottle of it, it would be very VERY bad for you. Here’s a list of why:
Sharp shrapnel from an exploding plastic bottle, highly corrosive liquid being thrown through the air towards your skin, this reaction is exothermic (you can see the liquid in the bottle boiling) so the corrosive is HOT, highly flammable hydrogen gas produced. This blog exists so that you don’t HAVE to try this at home. Don’t endanger your life and that of others. This GIF is for scientific demonstration purposes only.
This is the first in a series of GIFS for this Wednesday titled “Sodium Hydroxide + Things”.
Now that I fricking forgot what I was going to post before getting angry, here’s this:
The Boy Who Played With Fusion
Taylor Wilson always dreamed of creating a star. Now he’s become one
By Tom Clynes
"Propulsion," the nine-year-old says as he leads his dad through the gates of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "I just want to see the propulsion stuff."
A young woman guides their group toward a full-scale replica of the massive Saturn V rocket that brought America to the moon. As they duck under the exhaust nozzles, Kenneth Wilson glances at his awestruck boy and feels his burden beginning to lighten. For a few minutes, at least, someone else will feed his son’s boundless appetite for knowledge.
Then Taylor raises his hand, not with a question but an answer. He knows what makes this thing, the biggest rocket ever launched, go up.
And he wants—no, he obviously needs—to tell everyone about it, about how speed relates to exhaust velocity and dynamic mass, about payload ratios, about the pros and cons of liquid versus solid fuel. The tour guide takes a step back, yielding the floor to this slender kid with a deep-Arkansas drawl, pouring out a torrent of Ph.D.-level concepts as if there might not be enough seconds in the day to blurt it all out. The other adults take a step back too, perhaps jolted off balance by the incongruities of age and audacity, intelligence and exuberance.
As the guide runs off to fetch the center’s director—You gotta see this kid!—Kenneth feels the weight coming down on him again. What he doesn’t understand just yet is that he will come to look back on these days as the uncomplicated ones, when his scary-smart son was into simple things, like rocket science.
This is before Taylor would transform the family’s garage into a mysterious, glow-in-the-dark cache of rocks and metals and liquids with unimaginable powers. Before he would conceive, in a series of unlikely epiphanies, new ways to use neutrons to confront some of the biggest challenges of our time: cancer and nuclear terrorism. Before he would build a reactor that could hurl atoms together in a 500-million-degree plasma core—becoming, at 14, the youngest individual on Earth to achieve nuclear fusion.
* * *
When I meet Taylor Wilson, he is 16 and busy—far too busy, he says, to pursue a driver’s license. And so he rides shotgun as his father zigzags the family’s Land Rover up a steep trail in the Virginia Mountains north of Reno, Nevada, where they’ve come to prospect for uranium.
From the backseat, I can see Taylor’s gull-like profile, his forehead plunging from under his sandy blond bangs and continuing, in an almost unwavering line, along his prominent nose. His thinness gives him a wraithlike appearance, but when he’s lit up about something (as he is most waking moments), he does not seem frail. He has spent the past hour—the past few days, really—talking, analyzing, and breathlessly evangelizing about nuclear energy. We’ve gone back to the big bang and forward to mutually assured destruction and nuclear winter. In between are fission and fusion, Einstein and Oppenheimer, Chernobyl and Fukushima, matter and antimatter.
"Where does it come from?" Kenneth and his wife, Tiffany, have asked themselves many times. Kenneth is a Coca-Cola bottler, a skier, an ex-football player. Tiffany is a yoga instructor. "Neither of us knows a dang thing about science," Kenneth says.
If you leave an uncooked egg in white spirit vinegar for a couple of days, the shell will dissolve. The acetic acid in the vinegar will dissolve the carbonates in the egg shell, leaving behind the rubbery, thick permeable membrane beneath. This makes for a squishy bouncy egg!
This is the 13th (and last) post in the “Acid + things” series for today.