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Offline Grundalizer

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Some good starter experiments
« on: April 29, 2009, 06:07:19 PM »
Greetings, after numerous hours of looking over chemistry forums, I have found this one to be the most in depth and decided to join.  I am going into my Junior year as an undergraduate majoring in Chemistry, and my school offers basically zero undergraduate research opportunities, so I figure it is high time to start my own. 

I am wondering how you all got started with home chemistry.  What did your first "laboratory" consist of?  Have you slowly accumulated glassware and hot plates over the years?  Glassware and equipment can be really expensive, especially for a college student. 

I am also wondering what sort of experiments you think would be easy starter experiments, but also have some real substance to them.  Not baking soda and vinegar or anything that simple, but perhaps some basic organic reactions/synthesis or even electrochemical experiments.  I am really wondering how all of you got your start and how you went about building your labs.

On a side note, did this site used to be written in HTML format? There used to be chemistry forums just like this I believe, but the format was much different and I remember the first page of the website was a big Erlenmeyer flask and some options to visit the forums in HTML or something.  I'm wondering if the forums just got an overhaul.

Offline nj_bartel

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 09:39:20 PM »
My first home experiment was filling balloons with hydrogen and setting them off for the 4th of July  :P

Offline Kitchench3m

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2009, 11:59:45 PM »
I'm just getting started as well, I just got my first bit of glassware a couple weeks ago. I got my set from Unitednuclear. it was really a bargain for me.

As far as at home labs are concerned i tried making supersaturated sodium acetate. Not bad but my method of acquiring it (vinegar and baking soda over a stove) left much to be desired. Next i tried my hand at making copper (II) chloride. I have to tell you that was a lot of fun. The blue flame color if done right is really beautiful. ;D I hope that you get your lab going before long!

Online billnotgatez

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Offline Mirage

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 01:49:14 AM »
I too have recently gotten interested in chemistry. Since Christmas, I have been trying to make cash for labware anyway I can. What is outrageous though that for a 80$ order, it cost me 35$ in shipping! I think my very first experiment was trying the copper plate nails. What I assumed was sulfuric acid(unlabeled bottle I found in garage) was actually dilute Hydrofluoric acid. Was the greatest idea... That was when I was using measuring cups and saucers. I got the Chem c3000 kit for Christmas and a glassware and hardware set. My first official experiment was determining which was more soluble. NaCl or KCl. I could suggest some smoke bombs (KNO3/Sucrose, 3/2, melted down on low outside, and when cooled, fuse inserted) or isolating boric acid from sodium tetraborate. Just search on YouTube.  I believe that the channel is alchemical garden. Another cool synthesis is NaCO+MgSO4•7H2O=MgCO3+NaSO4. you simply mix the two and filter the insoluble Mg carbonate. If you are a mountain climber (or boulderer like me) I make this and dry then mix into iso alcohol and use as a sort of liquid chalk.
Some good YouTube channels
NurdRage
AlchemicalGarden


Hope his gives you some ideas

Offline Mirage

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2011, 01:54:13 AM »
H balloons is another good experiment. Fairly easy supplies and common chemicals. and some NaOH and dissolve in water in an erlenmeyer, then when your ready, add aluminum foil or strip, and (outside) attach a balloon to the top of the bottle and tie it off. Then, outside, attach a lighter or match to the end of a PVC pipe or use a barbecue Lighter and ignite. Reaction as follows. H2+O=H2O. Easy and fun. VERY loud.

Offline Grundalizer

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 11:33:47 PM »
Yeah Mirage I frequent both those channels,  I'm trying to get my own up and running, NewEarthLabs, with hopes of one day aspiring to being like NurdRage.  I have a lot of video on my computer, just bad at editing it.

I feel your pain in shipping, I put together a list from united nuclear and when I went to ship I saw it was HALF the order price, I think the BIG thing is not ordering anything like Calcium Carbide, that has a $30 Hazmat shipping fee.  Make sure to check if it has that fee, as UPS charges it on some items.  Things like thermite and magnesium powder don't have it...but calcium carbide does.

Offline Mirage

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2011, 01:26:44 AM »
Yeah Mirage I frequent both those channels,  I'm trying to get my own up and running, NewEarthLabs, with hopes of one day aspiring to being like NurdRage.  I have a lot of video on my computer, just bad at editing it.

I feel your pain in shipping, I put together a list from united nuclear and when I went to ship I saw it was HALF the order price, I think the BIG thing is not ordering anything like Calcium Carbide, that has a $30 Hazmat shipping fee.  Make sure to check if it has that fee, as UPS charges it on some items.  Things like thermite and magnesium powder don't have it...but calcium carbide does.

I know, i have these kind of gift cards that are like bank cards that you can you can you anywhere, so from UN i had a 58$ order and shipping was 17.58$! I had two cards. One 25 and one 50. I really sucked. As you can see, i needed an extra 58 cents, so I thought maybe if i half the two orders and order them seperately, the shipping would be less. Nope. Still 17.58$ for a 30$ (about) order. I sucked. I ended up having to use my credit card and waiting for some other time to use them.

Offline Zerm

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 11:10:10 AM »
Chemistry always fascinated me as a kid.  Unfortunately, the chemistry classes I took in high school and college made the subject very droll to me.  It wasn't until some years later that I was sitting around the house bored and alone one Saturday night with nothing to do when I decided I would pursue home chemistry.  I got up off the couch and drove to Walmart and bought a bunch of mason jars, latex tubing, coffee filters, cooking thermometer chemical resistant gloves, and a cart full of houshold chemicals that interested me.  Who knows what the cashier thought I was up to, lol. 

I setup shop in my garage.  I crafted my own alcohol lamp and used mostly makeshift equipment.  My first sucessful experiments included isolating hydrogen gas from electrolysis of water, producing copper sulfate using copper, hydrogen peroxide, and sulfuric acid, and creating sodium nitrate from ammonium nitrate and sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydroxide.  Most of the experiments I attempted didn't go according to plan but I won't call them failures.  No experiment is a failure if you learn something from it.  That's really the point of experimenting. 

I now approach the technical aspects of the subject with new perspective and vigor.  My misadventures in the lab have really driven me to learn more about the theory of chemistry.  I think to myself now, if I ever went back to school, it would be to recieve formal education in this exciting field.

Offline 408

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2011, 12:01:04 PM »

On a side note, did this site used to be written in HTML format? There used to be chemistry forums just like this I believe, but the format was much different and I remember the first page of the website was a big Erlenmeyer flask and some options to visit the forums in HTML or something.  I'm wondering if the forums just got an overhaul.

I think you are thinking of sciencemadness...


As for ideas:
Run a chlorate cell
make liquid oxygen or chlorine (if you can get dry ice or liquid nitrogen)...also kinda advanced...
make chloroform
make picric acid
make sodium...kinda advanced....
Distill tri(m)ethyl borate...great flame colour!





Offline vmelkon

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 05:04:02 PM »
Extract enough amercium(IV) oxide from many many smoke alarms.
Concentrate it.
Reduce using lithium to have metallic americium.
Use the americium to make a hood ornament for your car.

Offline 408

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 04:38:32 AM »
Extract enough amercium(IV) oxide from many many smoke alarms.
Concentrate it.
Reduce using lithium to have metallic americium.
Use the americium to make a hood ornament for your car.

This is nowhere near a beginner experiment! And will create dusts and fumes of an alpha emitter which is a quick way for lung cancer.  >:(

Offline Grundalizer

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Re: Some good starter experiments
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2011, 10:52:27 AM »
Mirage, as for United Nuclear, I had the same issue.  I ordered $30 worth of chemicals and saw shipping was $30+ dollars, MORE than the chemicals. 

I found out later after I re-visited the site that I had ordered Calcium Carbide, which reacts with water to give highly flammable Acetylene gas. UPS Charges a $30 Hazmat fee for that!!

So, drop the Calcium Carbide, and shipping drops to a few dollars.  It'll say on each chemical if there is a Hazmat fee...check for it, and hopefully you can get something good from them, they seem to be one of the last refuges of good cheap chemicals and other things in the US.  I've found no other sites that sell all that stuff besides the big ones Sigma Aldrich Fischer etc but they never ship to residential

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