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Kitchen chemistry

March 16, 2012

Kitchen volcano

Miss Fly and I had kitchen science fun. (And, yes, I cleaned up the mess right away – which is much, much easier when the place is clean to start with!)

I found, among other things, some baking soda, cornflour and yeast that were all well out of date and was inspired to have some fun. The yeast, sadly, was dead and unreactive, but everything else worked like a charm.

First we made a volcano.

Take a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), add a squirt of washing up liquid, a few drops of food colouring (optional) and a good old splash of vinegar. You can use anything acid, like lemon juice, instead of the vinegar.

The point of the experiment is that the alkaline baking soda reacts with the acid and creates heaps of carbon dioxide which, with the help of the detergent, foams up like crazy and overflows like lava.

Fu-un. And messy!

Non-Newtonian pink goop

Secondly, we made goop.

Take a cup of cornflour and add a cup of water (with a few drops of food colouring if you wish) and mix the two thoroughly.

You end up with a non-Newtonian fluid – a substance that isn’t really liquid and isn’t really solid. If you squash it, it is firm, like playdough. But if you just let it sit quietly in your hand, it quickly puddles and pours, like thick cream. When you squash it, it warms up to the temperature of your hands, but when you let it flow it cools down noticeably. Rly rly cool.

This one got all over the place. Miss Fly tells me that this is OK, because: “Science investigations are supposed to get a bit messy sometimes!”

Well that’s fine, then….

Meanwhile, in other news, my lair has One Good Corner. I should jolly well hope so after the best part of a week’s action – sigh?

Well, I think a couple of 15-minute sessions tomorrow should see the rest of the room at “good enough” – and that’s alright by me.

One Good Corner

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