High School Biology-Chemistry SMILE Meeting
24 February 2004
Notes Prepared byPorter Johnson

Bradley Wright [Eisenhower HS Blue Island, Chemistry]         Fuel Cell Football ©
recently attended a workshop sponsored by Flinn Scientific Foundation.   One of the exercises, called Fuel Cell Football ©, used combustion of a small volume of a hydrogen-oxygen mixture to propel a plastic projectile across the room --- about 4 meters --- and through the goal posts --- a "chemical field goal"!

Note:  Rocket launch experiments such as this one should be done only under the supervision of an experienced expert!

Proprietary details for constructing and launching this projectile may be obtained from Flinn Scientific Foundation [http://www.flinnsci.com/].

Great phenomenological chemistry, Brad! Excellent!

Jane Shields  [Calumet Career Academy]         Tie Dye Chromatography
showed some neat stuff that she had learned to do at a workshop held last summer at Navy Pier, which focused upon chromatography, as well as related ideas in adhesion, cohesion, and capillary action.

First Jane gave us "baby food" jars  that contained  a 50 - 50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water.  We cut pieces of cloth from an ordinary blank T-shirt --- each piece was roughly square, about 12 cm [5 inches] on each side.  We drew pictures on the cloth, using water-soluble markers.  We then drew a little of the mixture from the jars up into soda straws, using  capillary action.  We dabbed the straw at our drawings and  let out a little of the mixture on top of the images on the cloth.  The fabric acted as the stationary phase, and the alcohol-water mixture as the mobile phase to separate each part of marker image into its constituent colors.   We obtained a sort of "abbreviated spectrum" of colors from the original drawing lines.  Each marker color is a (proprietary, patented, registered, secret) mix of dyes. Even two markers of the same color may be produced from different dyes, since they are made by different manufacturers, and thus give different chromatograms.  Some makers seem to use only a single constituent color, whereas others used mixtures of dyes of different colors.

We now have really "mellow" images,  and have gotten "into" chemistry.  Thanks for showing us how to do this, Jane!

Notes taken by Benjamin Stark