Reed & Caroline – Dark Matter

It’s “Reed & Caroline Wednesday” again. 😉 The VeryRecords recording artists’ music is a part of my Yuck Science virtual programs, and there will be an extra post each week January featuring one of their songs.

Dark Matter is a track from their second album Hello Science. In addition to being a catchy tune, this features a simple but very creative paper animation made by singer Caroline Schutz’s daughter Ava. Does this video give you any ideas for what you could create?

Reed & Caroline’s Dark Matter music video, with animations by Ava Gould

This style of video is called stop motion animation. All it takes to create is a camera and an idea! Ava took photos of her creations with a story in her mind. There are several photos per second, and they were edited together into an animation.

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The Flying Trash Can!

Check out this video of a trash can flying high into the air, from just the force of a 2 liter soda bottle bursting!

The bottle was filled about a third of the way full with liquid nitrogen. Nitrogen gas takes up 694 times the volume that it does in liquid form, so as the liquid nitrogen boils inside the sealed bottle, the pressure of the bottle increases rapidly! When the bottle bursts, the force from that pressure being released is enough to make this trash can soar!

This was a test run for one of the next videos I have planned, which will demonstrate the same principle in an even bigger way, so stay tuned! If you would like to be among the first to see that, you can subscribe in the black field below to receive email notifications of new blog posts.

Science for Christmas!

My family has a bit of a tradition of pulling out science toys for the holidays, which started with making Mentos and Diet Coke geysers for the Fourth of July several years ago. This Christmas, we made elephant toothpaste and made a trash can fly up into the air using liquid nitrogen. Check it out in the video below!

I hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful (and safe!) holiday together!

Kids React to Fireballs!

It’s safe to say that fireballs are one of the most popular parts of the Yuck Science live show on Zoom. Watch the students from Eastlawn Elementary in Burlington, North Carolina react to fireballs I make during the show. They are a lot of fun! Don’t miss last 30 seconds of the video when you can see the fire is slow motion. It’s really cool!

The fire is made by blowing lycopodium powder through a flame. Lycopodium powder is a spore from a plant known a club moss. You can see a photo of the plant below.

Lycopodium clavatum, also know as club moss

The fire looks scary, but it isn’t even flamable unless it is blown into the air like a dust. The dust burns very quickly, so there isn’t enough time for anything around it to catch fire. Lycopodium is commonly used by special effects artists because it is a relatively safe way to create a dramatic effect.

There is another post coming soon about the science and other cool characteristics of lycopodium. Be sure to follow this blog using the subscription form below if you would like to see more!

Which falls faster, a hammer or a feather?

Does as heavy object fall faster than a lighter one? What about a much lighter one? Check out this video clip where astronauts on the moon find out!

Apollo 15 Astronaut David Scott performing a science demonstration on the moon in 1971!

During the Apollo 15 mission on the moon, Commander David Scott performed a science demonstration for all the world to see! He dropped a geologic hammer and a falcon feather and dropped them at the same time. Which do you think hit the ground first?

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Liquid Nitrogen Smoke Cloud!

Among my favorite new pieces of science equipment are my liquid nitrogen dewars. A dewar is a special container designed to store liquefied gases. It is like a special thermos but much larger. When you have a dewar and are trained in safely handling one, you can do science experiments with liquid nitrogen.

Liquid nitrogen is a super cold liquid version of nitrogen. It is so cold that is boils at −320 °F. That is 352 degrees colder than the temperature that makes water freeze. And it is even colder when it is still a liquid! That’s cold!

My first dewar after filled for the very first time! It weighs over 100 pounds filled and is being loaded into the Yuckmobile with a forklift!
My second dewar is the one I use for shows. It is much smaller an has a blue wrap. My sometimes co-host Luke is shown with it here!

One of my favorite demonstrations with liquid nitrogen is making a ‘smoke cloud.’ The smoke is actually a nitrogen being released as a vapor. In this demonstration, you poor warm water into a container of liquid nitrogen. The extreme temperature change causes the nitrogen to turn into a vapor immediately, and if you watch closely, you can see little chunks fly out, which are piece of a ice that were instantly frozen by the liquid nitrogen. That’s really, really cold!

Making a ‘smoke cloud’ with liquid nitrogen

Follow this blog or subscribe to the Yuck Science youtube channel to see more liquid nitrogen demonstrations soon!

Public Science – Elephant Toothpaste!

Elephant toothpaste foam swirling in front of Empires13 mural

I hit the streets again and did some elephant toothpaste demonstrations with passersby in front of a really cool mural near downtown Houston. Check out the video below!

Elephant toothpaste is getting to be a really popular science demo! It is a chemical reaction using hydrogen peroxide and a catalyst to increase the release of oxygen. The oxygen in caught in dish soap, creating the foam. I use potassium iodide as the catalyst and a really strong hydrogen peroxide for a really big effect, but those chemicals require careful handling. You can try the demonstration safely at home using the instructions below!

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Is the Sun Yellow?

Typical representation of our yellow sun!

We all reach for the yellow crayon when it’s time to draw the sun, right? And we know the sun is yellow because Superman gets his superpowers from a “yellow star.”

But light is a tricky thing! In space, the sun would appear white. By the time we see light from the sun, it has traveled 92,955,807 miles through space and through our atmosphere, which bends and filters light.

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