Here Are The Coolest Reactions Your Science Teacher Never Showed You In School
April 10th, 2015
Were you not a fan of science in school? Did it seem boring? Were all those molecules and atoms too hard to conceptualize? Never fear. Your love of science will soon be restored with the incredible chemical reactions featured below. They’re all real, and they’ve been entertaining people for years. Check them out…and probably don’t try them at home.
Gallium melts at room temperature.
This silvery metal has a melting point of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It is used to make alloys with low melting points, as well as in electronics.
Sulfur hexafluoride is a gas so dense it can make solid objects float.
Due to its density, it’s often used in electrical insulation.
If you inhaled it, it would make your vocal cords vibrate much more slowly and make your voice sound lower. This is the opposite reaction to inhaling helium.
Dry ice and water make a giant bubble.
Dry ice sublimes, meaning it goes directly from a solid to gas. This results in the vapor you see here. It also creates a ton of cold, cloudy fog, and is used in special effects.
Burning ammonium dichromate summons the Kraken.
Okay, not literally, but these freaky tentacles really do form in this heat-triggered reaction.
Water forms a bridge.
By introducing a current, water molecules become more strongly bonded, forming this “bridge” between two containers.
White tin turns to gray tin.
When the temperature drops below 13 Celsius, white tin (known as beta tin) becomes a more brittle gray version of itself (called gray or alpha tin). Tin decomposes at cool temperatures in a reaction known as “tin pest.”
Sulfuric acid turns sugar into this.
This is sped up, but the sulfuric acid dehydrates the sugar, leaving water and carbon behind in this column shape.
This is why snake venom kills you.
When snake venom is mixed with blood, the result is this congealed mass. Gross.
Nitrogen triiodide is like explosive dirt.
You’ve probably seen it on Breaking Bad, but this stuff is real. It’s so sensitive that even getting hit with alpha particles (which are really, really small) will set it off.
Here it is in action, with the touch of a feather setting off the explosion. The purple plume you see is iodine vapor, which is an intense irritant to mucous membranes.
This is what happens when mercury and aluminum come in contact.
This happens when mercury is able to penetrate aluminum’s oxide layer.
Burning mercury thiocyanate also summons demons.
This reaction is called the “Pharaoh’s serpent,” and the resulting snake-like solid was once sold as a toy. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly toxic and resulted in the deaths of several children.
This is what happens when you mix hydrogen peroxide with potassium iodide.
Lithium looks like coral when it burns.
A lightbulb burning out.
You’ve probably seen this, but it happens really fast. This is what’s actually going on in slow-motion.
This happens when a surge of electricity goes through a solid insulation material. The electricity fans out like lightning, creating these tree-like patterns throughout the material.
This is the reaction that takes place when you mix aluminum and iodine.
This produces a beautiful, but irritating, purple plume of iodine vapor, as well as heat and light.
Blood foams when in it comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide.
Contact with organic materials causes the formation of gas bubbles and tissue destruction. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not a good idea to put this on a wound.
The Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction.
This reaction usually manifests as a solution changing back and forth from one color to another, while never reaching equilibrium. It’s so weird that the chemist who discovered it had his work rejected because he couldn’t explain what was happening.
Nitinol is a titanium and nickel alloy, and is 30 times more elastic than other metals. It is also able to snap back to its original shape with a minor change in temperature.
Sodium acetate solidifies at the drop of a hat (sometimes literally).
This liquid forms “hot ice,” or salt crystals in reaction to almost anything. This gives it the appearance of rapidly freezing water. The crystallization produces heat, which makes this the active ingredient in heating pads. It’s also edible, and is mostly known for its part in “salt and vinegar” chip flavoring. Yum.
Hydrophobic substances repel water to the extreme.
Water beading on a surface is an example of hydrophobia, but some substances are so hydrophobic that they achieve perfect spheres of water.
This is hydrophobic sand, which reverts to its dry form when taken out of the water.
More tentacle fun with calcium.
Perfect for Halloween.
Wake up your food.
Sodium chloride in soy sauce triggers muscular spasms in cuttlefish. Though it’s already dead, its tissue can still react to stimuli, hence the dance you see here.
If you’re not impressed by science after witnessing the craziness that our world has to offer, I don’t know what to say. Also, is it weird that the last .gif makes me want sushi right now?