Archive for November, 2012

Making Pennies Shine Again

Who doesn’t like the sight of  freshly minted coins? The shinny pennies have fascinated more than one child. However did you know that even the old, dull and rather grimy looking pennies can also be made to shine again? Here’s how you would do so.

Collect all the old and dirty pennies that you can find. Your parents are sure to have some in their wallet or purse. Now get a flat plastic bowl or container. Pour some white vinegar into the plastic container and add a spoonful of salt to it. Stir to dissolve the salt and then add the pennies to the solution.

Let it stand for about ten to fifteen minutes. Now remove them from the solution and wash them in regular water from the kitchen tap. Now wipe them off with a paper kitchen towel. All the grime and dirt would have come off leaving you with a few really shinny new coins.

The science behind this trick is simple. The coins have  a layer of copper oxide on them which gets dissolved in the acid from the vinegar as it reacts with the salt.  This chemical reaction is what cleans out all the dull coating from the pennies leaving them in mint fresh condition.

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Lava Lamp at Home with Blobs in a Bottle

The multicolored blobs of a lava lamp can be quite fascinating to watch. How cool would it be to make something like that by yourself at home? Its a very simple science experiment which you can do with your friends at home. Make sure you ask your mom before you use the materials needed to make these blobs in a bottle from your kitchen.

And here is a list of the things that you will need for the experiment. One clear transparent plastic bottle. You can use a one liter cold drink bottle by taking off the label. One cup of vegetable oil, water, some liquid food coloring and a couple of fizzing tablets. You can use any effervescent tablet that is used for digestive purposes.

Use a funnel to pour the water into the bottle till its 3/4 full. Now add the vegetable oil to the bottle. Add about ten to twelve drops of the food coloring and wait for a while for the water and oil to settle down. Now add the fizzy tablet and watch the lava lamp effect come to life as blobs move in the bottle.

To make it even more fun shine a flashlight from the bottom of the bottle. As the tablet wears out you will need to add another one to keep the spectacular effects going in this science project.

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Making Rock Candy as a Crystal Experiment

Crystals are stones which have formed as layer over layer of the material they are made of cooled and added to the rock. There are all kinds of different colored crystal stones in the world. The most common one would be the pure white colored crystal stones that a number of people use in prayer beads across the world.

A large number of semi precious stones like agate, amethysts, and cat’s eye are also basically crystal rock formations. So how would you like to make your own edible crystal rock candy? Here’s what all you will need. A glass of water, about three glasses of sugar, a wooden satay stick or chopstick, a tall narrow glass of water or glass jar, and a helpful adult.

Get the adult to boil the water in a pan and then dissolve the sugar in the water. You will need patience to let all the sugar dissolve so its better to add a few spoons at a time. Once the water is super saturated with sugar keep it aside to cool a bit and then pour it into the tall narrow glass.

Next dip the wooden satay stick into the glass and keep turning it every four to five hours as it cools. You will find that the sugar syrup begins to cool off and form a rock candy in crystalline form on the wooden stick. An edible science project is the best kind.

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Why is the sky blue?

In our last science experiment we saw that sunlight is actually made up of a number of different wave lengths of light each of which can have a different color. So why is it that the sky, on a clear day, appears to us in the color blue? Why is the sky not plain white like sunlight or a kaleidoscope of different colors as found in the rainbow?

The sky above earth is not a vacuum. It is full of gases of all kinds. One of which is oxygen and it is thanks to this oxygen in the air that all of us are alive. This mixed bag of gases in the atmosphere also is responsible for the color of the sky. As the sunlight comes through this set of gases some wavelengths of light pass clear through while others get bounced around by the molecules in the gases.

Colors like red, yellow, and orange pass straight through the mix of gases in the atmosphere while the blue color manages to get reflected all over. The bits of reflected blue hits your eyes as you look up. This is why it becomes the most predominantly present light wave length in the sky making the sky appear blue in color. There are a number of interesting science projects based on the sky that you can try out.

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The many colors of light

If you say the word “light” there is a vision of white light from a tubelight or yellow light from a bulb that comes first to mind. However that simple light is not just made up of one color. It is in fact a collection of many different colors all rolled into one. In this science experiment we are going to split light up to reveal its spectrum.

This Light Spectrum is the set of visible wave lengths of the light that can be seen by the naked eye. For the experiment you will need a pan two third full of water, a small mirror, a blank sheet of paper, and a nice sunny day which gives you good direct sunlight rays.

Set the pan of water in direct sunlight. You can place it on a table or put it right down on the floor. Now with one hand hold the mirror under the water in the pan. Let the light that is reflected by the sun on to the mirror be caught on the paper that you hold in your other hand.

You will need to adjust the angles of both the  mirror under water and the paper above it till you see the visible spectrum of light on the paper. Then hold it steady and study the light reflected on the paper. It will look rather like a rainbow as the water has acted like a prism and separated the different wavelengths of light in this science experiment.

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