Can you change the color of oudin coil sparks?

Can you change the color of oudin coil sparks?

An Oudin coil can take the energy out of your outlet and create sparks you can see! It’s sometimes called a mini tesla coil. The sparks on them usually look violet. If you know the visible light spectrum, you might know that violet light is the most energetic color of light.  The oudin coil looks

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Electric Lighter vs Mints: Crystalline Energy

Electric Lighter vs Mints: Crystalline Energy

Have you ever wondered what electric lighters and Wint-o-green Lifesavers have in common? No? Well we here at AstroCamp wondered exactly that and the answer is a surprising one: they both involve energy released from crystals! Electric lighters like this piezo ignitor don’t use the normal flint and steel ignition method of a normal lighter,

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How Do You Melt Dry Ice?

How Do You Melt Dry Ice?

Dry ice is the solid state of carbon dioxide, the gas we all breathe out, but have you ever seen it in liquid form? When left at room temperature, dry ice doesn’t actually melt; it sublimates, changing directly from a solid to a gas. To understand why, let’s take a look at its phase diagram,

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Leiden-frost Nipping at Your Toes

Leiden-frost Nipping at Your Toes

Have you ever played air hockey? There is something strangely satisfying about how the puck slides effortlessly across the table, before finally coming to rest. This same thing happens naturally as well, and it’s actually some pretty cool science. Lets check out how it works! When things of different temperatures interact, the warmer object loses

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DIY Fireproof Cash

DIY Fireproof Cash

We soaked this $5 bill in flammable rubbing alcohol and then lit it on fire. So how did it survive? Does it have something to do with the bill itself? This demonstration is impressive with money, but we haven’t been able to find an example of it using other materials. Many people have asked us

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DIY Electric Motor

DIY Electric Motor

Electric generators change mechanical energy into electrical energy. An electric motor does the opposite: it changes electrical energy into physical motion. This conversion is possible because of the Lorentz force. Electricity is just the movement of electrons through a loop, called a circuit. Ever notice how magnets can repel or attract objects without touching them?

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Thomas Edison and the Bright Idea

Thomas Edison and the Bright Idea

 Thomas Edison famously invented the incandescent light bulb. These light bulbs are pretty simple things. They are really just a glass casing around a tiny metal resistor called the filament. As electricity runs through it, the filament heats up until it produces light. But how much does it have to heat up? It turns

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DIY + Grapes + Microwave = PLASMA!

DIY + Grapes + Microwave = PLASMA!

WARNING: Handle dishes with a potholder, and be aware that they may break if left in the microwave too long. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand when experimenting with high-energy science.  What do lightning, the aurora, neon signs, and grapes have in common? Plasma! It might be the least familiar of the four states

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Eureka! Buoyancy And More

Eureka! Buoyancy And More

Have you ever felt pressure on your body– especially in your ears– as you swim deep underwater? The deeper you go, the more pressure you feel. This is the core of a principle called buoyancy. Buoyancy explains why, in a liquid, what goes down just might come up! Let’s think about how water affects this

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Balloon Stabbing Science

Balloon Stabbing Science

How does this balloon stay intact? It’s got everything to do with our angle of attack. Latex, the stretchy material most balloons are made of, is a polymer. Polymers are made of macromolecules, or long chains of repeated small parts. When a balloon inflates, the long molecule chains in its surface stretch out & make

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Electricity & Magnetism Belong Together

Electricity & Magnetism Belong Together

Electricity is one element of physics that we encounter on a daily basis. It powers our televisions and our computers and keeps the lights on at home. Magnets are something we think of as less common, only using them when we need to navigate using a compass or stick something to our fridge. But electricity

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What does Liquid Nitrogen do to Balloons

What does Liquid Nitrogen do to Balloons

Liquid Nitrogen is a cryogenic liquid. It seems exotic because its extremely low temperatures cause it to affect things differently than we see in everyday life. To understand it a bit better, lets look at where it comes from. Nitrogen is a very common element. It makes up about 78% of the atmosphere, so you

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