Element Collection

Element Collection

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Boron Research

As mentioned in my new video, Elemental Extractions 5: Boron, I've been doing a lot of research on the element and how to isolate it. My chosen reaction for that video (and my old one on boron) was the magnesiothermic reduction of boric oxide:
B2O3 + 3Mg == 2B + 3MgO
But it turns out that this pathway only produces very impure boron, for several reasons. Read on for some of the results of my research, with links to the papers I mention. You can also see my thread on ScienceMadness for some extra discussion.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Major Lab Renovation Part 3: Furniture!

The renovation progresses! I received my official lab furniture and am in the process of installing it in the room. There are a few minor/major problems to resolve before I'm finished, though.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Major Lab Renovation Part 2: Safety!

The first pieces of my new lab have arrived: real, heavy-duty lab safety cabinets for flammables and corrosives!



Also, I'll be sealing the grout lines in the lab with this suggestively-named product:

This will help keep spills from staining (or possibly dissolving!) the grout. The tile is ceramic so it should be reasonably resistant to most things on its own.

Now to await the furniture!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Major Lab Renovation Part 1: First Steps!

My home lab has served me well for the past seven years on YouTube (can't believe it's been that long!), but now it's time for a major overhaul and renovation of the space. You may have already seen the announcement video on my YouTube channel. Rather than post several small videos, I thought I'd document my progress here as things happen. I'll make a video to showcase the new setup once it's all in place, but that could take several months. So first, let's start with a tour of the lab space I've been using so far.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Golden Rain

This post is the video companion to this video.

This experiment is hands-down the most beautiful chemistry demonstration I've ever seen. I'll be synthesizing lead(II) iodide, which has a beautiful golden yellow color. This experiment is especially striking because this bright yellow solid is produced from two water-clear solutions.

Materials
  • 1.0 g Potassium Iodide, KI
  • 0.8 g Lead Nitrate, Pb(NO3)2
  • 500 mL Distilled Water
Reaction
Pb(NO3)2 (aq) + 2KI (aq) --> 2KNO3 (aq) + PbI2 (s)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Started With Home Chemistry

As a part of my participation in the Gulf Coast MakerCon, I wanted to write a short article to cover the basics of home chemistry, for those that want to know more. We'll go over where to start, how to find supplies, and a few excellent resources I use in my own experimental pursuits.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gulf Coast Makercon 2014

I'm very excited to announce that I will be participating in the Gulf Coast MakerCon on April 5-6, in Tampa FL! This event is similar (but not affilliated with) the Maker Faire in California, and is made up of people that make or do interesting things. There's a huge variety of participants - 3D printing, robotics, custom jewelry, cosplay, tabletop gaming, and much more - so you're bound to find something that interests you! The MakerCon folks featured me in one of their Meet the Maker segments as well.

I will be hosting a booth featuring my Element Display, which is now nearly fully stocked with samples! I only have about 13 left to collect. I will also have an outdoor area where I will be performing live chemistry demonstrations every few hours, including exciting experiments like thermite reactions. I haven't finalized my list of demos, but I'm leaning towards 3 per show, with the theme of wresting elements from their compounds.

If you are in the area, I definitely recommend you try coming to this event. It promises to be very educational, exciting, and lots of fun! Come visit my booth and say hi!