Tag Archives: Chemical Reaction

Lights and Lasers: How the Glow Wall Glows

One of the most popular classes at AstroCamp is Lights and Lasers, where students learn about the different energies and properties of light. The Lights and Lasers room is easily recognizable because of its Glow-in-the-Dark Walls. Once you turn the lights off, these awesome walls glow a vibrant green, slowly dimming until you shine light on them again.

Lights and Lasers Glow Wall

These walls have a physical property known as phosphorescence. It is a type of photoluminescence: an emission of light occurring when an object absorbs and releases photons. Other common types include bioluminescence — a chemical reaction in living organisms that give off light — and electroluminescence — the process by which LEDs give off light.

Lights and Lasers

Phosphorescence works by absorbing photons into the object’s electrons. This bumps those electrons into a higher energy level. But the electrons cannot then easily reemit the photons to return to their ground state: the electron becomes “trapped” and it requires a “forbidden transition” to return to its lower energy.

Lights and Lasers Transition

However, due to quantum mechanics, this forbidden transition can still happen, but it does so at a fairly slow rate. This allows the material to “store” the light and let it out slowly, sometimes taking hours to let out all of its light! This same material that we use for our glow wall is what is used for things like glow in the dark stickers! So even though they seem simple, next time you see them you’ll know that there’s a lot more going on than what first appears!

Written By: Scott Yarbrough

DIY Chemistry: Coca-Cola and Milk

Mixing different liquids together to see what they taste like seems like a part of human nature. But have you ever mixed your favorite drinks together just to see if a chemical reaction will occur? This is an experiment that you can easily DIY, but we do not recommend drinking it. All you need is a bottle of coke and a bit of whole milk.

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Pour the the milk into the full bottle of coke to top it off and then put the cap back on. Mix gently and then keep an eye on it for about an hour.

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There is a chemical reaction that occurs between the Phosphoric Acid in the coca-cola and the calcium in the milk.

3Ca + 2H3PO4 ///\\\ Ca3(PO4)2 + 3H2

The reaction creates a precipitate, or solid matter, that is more dense than the liquids, therefore sinking to the bottom of the bottle. This precipitate is mostly just milk that has curdled, or become a solid.

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Now that you have separated the liquid and precipitate, try mixing them back together. A simple way to do this is by simply removing the bottle cap. There was a build of pressure in the bottle due to the chemical reactions. Once the bottle cap is removed the change in pressure allows the mixture to recombine. Enjoy!

Written By: Mimi Garai

WELCOME TO OUR ASTROCAMP BLOG

We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. AstroCamp is a hands-on physical science program with an emphasis on astronomy and space exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and astronomical happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at least a Bachelors Degree in Physics or Astronomy, however it is not uncommon for them to have a Masters Degree or PhD. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science, space and astronomy information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit www.astrocampschool.org for additional information. Happy Reading!

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