Thursday, December 16, 2010

If Your Cat Took Chemistry, Would She Eat This Stuff? -Why not?

Crystal Light® Iced Tea Mix
1. -magnesium oxide MgO


Clif­­® Bar Spiced Pumpkin Pie flavor
2. -calcium carbonate CaCO3
3. -chromium(II) OR (III) chloride CrCl2 OR CrCl3
4. -potassium iodide KI

Minute Maid®­ 100% Juice Fruit Punch
5. -potassium phosphate K3PO4
Red Bull® Energy Drink
6. -magnesium carbonate MgCO

RID® Egg & Nit Comb-Out Gel
7. -water H2O
8. -sodium phosphate Na3PO4
9. -sodium chloride NaCl
CVS® Milk of Magnesia
10. -magnesium hydroxide Mg(OH)2
Purina® Fancy Feast Tuna Feast Flaked
11. -potassium chloride KCl
12. -calcium phosphate Ca3(PO­4­­)2
13. -zinc sulfate ZnSO4
14. -sodium nitrite NaNO2
15. -copper(I) or (II) sulfate CuSO4 OR CuSO4
16. –manganese(II) sulfate MnSO
Walgreens® Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
17. -hydrogen peroxide H2O2
Campbell’s Soup at Hand®
18. -ferrous sulfate FeSO4 

Clabber Girl®­ Baking Powder
19. -sodium aluminum sulfate NaAl(SO4)2

Sensodyne® Pronamel®
20. potassium nitrate KNO3
21. sodium fluoride NaCl


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

JJ Thomson's Experiments with Cathode Ray Tubes

Joseph John (JJ) Thomson was born in Cheetham Hill, England in 1856.  He studied at Cambridge University where he was given the title Cavendish Professor of Experimental Physics as well as Honorary Professor.  In 1906, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics "in recognition of the great merits of his theoretical and experimental investigations on the conduction of electricity by gases."

A cathode ray tube can be defined as a phosphor-coated glass tube from which the air has been removed.  It contains two electrodes, a cathode which is the negative electrode, and an anode which is the positive electrode.  When a high voltage electrical current is applied between the electrodes, a cathode ray travels from the cathode to the anode.  The interaction of the cathode ray with the phosphor-coated glass tube produces green light, the visible cathode ray.

Experiment 1:  JJ Thomson’s objective in his first experiment was to prove that the rays emitted from the cathode were inseparable from their negative charge.  In his first experiment, JJ Thomson built a cathode ray tube with a metal cylinder on its end, containing two slits that led to electrometers.  These electrometers were used to measure electric charges in miniscule amounts.  While conducting this experiment, Thomson realized that when he applied a magnetic field across the tube, the electrometers did not measure any charge from the cathode ray.  From this result, he concluded that the cathode ray was charged and had been deflected by the magnet showing that the charges and rays were intertwined and inseparable.

Experiment 2:  JJ Thomson tried to prove that the cathode rays carried a negative charge.  Thomson improved the quality of his cathode ray tube and its vacuum.  On the tube he placed metal plates, one positively charged, and the other negatively charged.  The rays were deflected by the electric plates.  The positively charged plate attracted the rays, and the negatively charged plate repelled the rays.  From these results, Thomson was able to conclude not only that charges were bound to the rays, but also that the rays consisted of negatively charged particles, “corpuscles,” later renamed electrons.

Experiment 3:  Thomson wanted to learn more about the characteristics of the electrons.  Thomson measured the charge and mass of the particles by determining how much the cathode rays were bent by electrical currents of varying strengths.  From his third experiment, Thomson learned that the charge to mass ratio of the particles was very large.  This result meant that either the charge of the particle was very large, or the mass of the particle was very small.  He deduced that the electron’s mass was very small, and that the electron was part of the atom itself. 

The electrons discovered by Thomson carry a charge of (–1) and have 1/2000 the mass of a hydrogen atom.  The electron was the first discovered subatomic particle.  Also, no matter what metal was used for the cathode, the rays always traveled in straight lines, could be deflected by magnetic fields, and had the same properties.  Thomson was surprised because this meant that atoms could be broken up into smaller parts, contrary to Dalton’s theory.  

Works Cited 
Cath7.jpg. N.d. Reich Chemistry. Tangient, 2010. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌Fall.2008.MMA.Cushman.Hutchinson.Timeline>.

cathode2.jpg. N.d. rwshocker. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌chem_html/‌atomic_stuct.html>.

CRTdrawing.GIF. 1897. J.J. Thomson’s Cathode Ray Tube. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌AtomicStructure/‌Disc-of-Electron-Images.html>.

Dchummer. Cathode Ray Tube. YouTube. N.p., 1 Oct. 2008. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌watch?v=O9Goyscbazk>.

Ebbing, Darrell D., and Steven D. Gammon. General Chemistry Sixth Edition. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.

Masterton, William L., and Cecile N. Hurley. Chemistry Principles and Reactions Third Edition. Fort Worth, Texas: Saunders College, 1997. Print.

Shuttleworth, Martyn. “J.J. Thomson’s Cathode Ray Experiment.” Experiment Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌frequently-asked-questions.html>.

Silberberg, Martin S. Chemistry the Molecular Nature of MAtter and Change. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw Hill, 2003. Print.

thomson.jpg. Fall 2010. Reich-Chemistry. Tangient, n.d. Web. 6 Oct. 2010. <‌Fall.2008.MMA.Rowe.Timeline>.

Wilbraham, Anthony C., et al. Prentice Hall Chemistry. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. Print.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eric's Salt Properties

As I was thinking about which household item I should choose, I immediately thought about salt (NaCl).  As with all matter, it has both physical and chemical properties.  I set out to explore what these were for salt.

All experiments in this project involving water use distilled water to insure accuracy.  Distilled water is free from ions, dissolved carbon, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Physical Property- A property that can be measured or observed without altering the composition of the substance.
The following are physical properties of sodium chloride.

1) Color- Sodium chloride appears clear to white.
2) Physical State- At room temperature, sodium chloride is a solid.

3) Crystallinity- Sodium chloride takes a cubic shape, with sharp edges.

4) Solubility- Sodium chloride is soluble in water forming a homogeneous mixture.
5) Electrical Conductivity- Sodium chloride has the ability to conduct electricity, as seen in the video. (This video was too long to upload directly onto this website.  Please click on the link below and it will take you to

Eric's Electricity Conductivity Video

Chemical Property- A property in which a substance has the ability to undergo a chemical change.
The following are chemical properties of sodium chloride.

1) Odorless- Sodium chloride has no odor.

2) Changing flame color- When sodium chloride is heated using a Bunsen burner, the sodium emits a yellow-orange light.  In the same way, sodium gas is used in street lights and emits a very bright, yellow-orange glow.

3) pH- Sodium chloride has a neutral pH (about 7).

Pool pH test strips used in the experiment.

They are very similar! (Distilled water on left. Distilled water containing NaCl on right.)
4) Flammability – Sodium chloride is nonflammable.  Sodium chloride does not burn or sustain a flame on its own.
Note that I am wearing safety goggles!

5) Taste- Sodium chloride has a very distinctive and desired taste.  Used in many foods, sodium chloride tastes salty.  In this experiment, I eat salt-coated pretzels.