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2006 Chemistry Features

Archive of Dr. Helmenstine's 2006 Chemistry Content


Learn how a mood ring works.

Learn how a mood ring works.

12/29/06 - GED Chemistry Quiz
Do you know the concepts of general chemistry covered on the science portion of the GED test for a general equivalency diploma? Quiz yourself before taking the big test.

12/27/06 - Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas
Stimulate your own ideas for a chemistry science fair project by looking at examples of chemistry projects other students have performed.

12/20/06 - 10 Carbon Facts
Learn some interesting facts about carbon, the element that is the basis for organic chemistry.

12/12/06 - Geode of Copper Sulfate Crystals
Geodes are rocks that contain crystals. Normally, millions of years are required for flowing water and minerals to deposit crystals, but you can make your own 'geode' in only a few days. Grow blue copper sulfate crystals inside an egg shell to make your own geode.

12/08/06 - Copper Plating Holiday Decoration
Copper plate a holiday decoration as a Christmas ornament or for other decorative uses.

12/06/06 - 10 Polonium Facts
Before Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium, few people had even heard of it. Here are ten facts about this interesting element.

11/30/06 - How to Take a Test
How you take a test is at least as important as your preparation for it. These tips can help you make the grade.

11/29/06 - Review Returned Tests
Learn why you should review a returned chemistry test and how to do it to gain the most benefit from the exam.

11/22/06 - pH of Common Chemicals
Here's a table of the pH of several common chemicals. You can use the list to set up color ranges for pH indicators or simply to learn more about acids and bases.

11/21/06- Poinsettia pH Paper
You can make pH indicator from poinsettia flowers, then use the indicator to make your own pH paper test strips.

11/07/06 - What Is in Chewing Gum?
Learn about the ingredients in chewing gum and find out whether it's true gum stays in your stomach seven years if you swallow it.

10/31/06 - How Do Pencil Erasers Work?
Learn about the different materials used as pencil erasers and how they work.

10/26/06 - Element Names Spelling Quiz
It's easy to understand how people get confused over the spelling of element names like sulfur, which the IUPAC changed from sulphur (a common spelling still used in some countries). Other element names are just harder to spell. Do you know them all?

10/25/06 - Alphabetical List of Elements
Here's a list of the elements, in alphabetical order according to their IUPAC names.

10/24/06 - What Is the Greenhouse Effect?
The 'Greenhouse Effect' refers to the insulating effect of the earth's atmosphere. Learn more about what causes this effect and what it means for global climate.

10/17/06 - What Is a Chemical Element?
Chemistry is concerned with elements. Get the definition for a chemical element, also simply called an element.

10/03/06 - What Is Bleach and How Does It Work?
Learn what a bleach is, get examples of different types, and find

09/26/06 - Solutions, Suspensions, Colloids, & Dispersions
Learn how to distiguish between solutions, suspensions, colloids, and dispersions. Get examples of the different types of mixtures.

09/21/06 - Ions, Isotopes, and Atoms Quiz
If you're given the nuclear symbol for an element, can you identify how many protons and neutrons it has? If you see an ion symbol, do you know how many electrons are present? Here's your chance to test yourself.

09/13/06 - Scientific Law, Theory, Hypothesis Definitions
Words have very specific meanings in chemistry and other sciences. Learn about the difference between a scientific law, hypothesis, and theory. Examples are provided for each term.

09/13/06 - Teach Yourself Chemistry
You can learn the essential concepts of chemistry on your own, online, using this virtual chemistry textbook. Concepts, practice problems, labs, and self-tests explain each topic, help reinforce ideas, and then check your understanding.

09/06/06 - Silly Putty Chemistry
Learn about the history of Silly Putty, how it works, how to make your own, and what you can do to explore the interesting properties of this viscoelastic liquid.

08/22/06 - What Is Absolute Zero?
Learn about absolute zero and the Kelvin and Celsius temperature scales.

08/15/06 - If I Leave my Goldfish in the Dark, Will it Turn White?
Learn about pigment biochemistry and find out whether your goldfish will turn white if you leave it in the dark long enough.

08/10/06 - Instant Fire Demonstration
Learn how to perform the instant fire chemistry demonstration in which potassium chlorate and sugar are reacted to produce an incredible purple flame and a lot of smoke.

08/08/06 - Nitrogen Triiodide Demonstration
Learn how to perform the nitrogen triiodide chemistry demonstration, a spectacular touch-sensitive decomposition that produces a cloud of purple smoke and a loud 'snap'.

08/01/06 - Chemistry Study Tips
Here are some homework and study tips to help you succeed in chemistry.

07/27/06 - P Orbital
The p orbital is a volume of space where an electron is most likely to be found. Here's what it looks like.

07/27/06 - S Orbital
Take a look at the probability distrubution of the s orbital, a volume of space describing the likely location of an electron.

07/18/06 - How Do Mood Rings Work?
Mood rings supposedly change color to show your emotions. Do they work? If so, do you know how? Here's your chance to find out.

07/11/06 - Empirical Formula Example
Learn how to determine the empirical formula of a compound from percent composition data.

07/04/06 - Food Additives List
Are you wondering about the roles of the chemicals in your food? Here's an alphabetical list of common food additives and their uses.

06/28/06 - Sparkler Recipe & Instructions
Learn how to make your own sparklers, for Independence Day or New Years Day fun. Use your understanding of chemistry to color the sparks.

06/20/06 - Tin Crystals
It's easy to grow crystals of tin metal using a simple replacement reaction. You can see the crystals in an hour or so, or leave them overnight for more/larger crystals.

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