I see colours in the chemistry lab


by Fathima Salihah

Instagram: @fathima_salihah_

LinkedIn: Fathima Salihah


Ever been interested in waiting to hear a ‘pop’ sound or to witness the unbelievable shades of blue and pink the reactions in a test tube give you…until you are supposed to NAME that weird colour on your observations sheet?

Isn’t it fascinating how reactions work and present to us the amazing outcomes from effervescence (fizzing) to how toxic perhaps Coca Cola and Mentos is said to be together? If you a Chemistry geek, or if you are not, still, here’s a few amazing chemical reactions that could happen and why (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME– I’m kidding- by the struggle you’d take to search for some of the reagents and learn how costly they are, you’ll just watch them on YouTube no matter how neatly edited some might be!)

1. The Elephant Toothpaste

Essentially when hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide react, oxygen is formed as a bi-product. And hence when soap is added to absorb the oxygen, the massive bubble effect pours out gracefully out of the conical flask!

Strange how we sometimes have patience last on our list, but we adore a video of the progression of the ‘foam’ to the ceiling and back in S-L-O-W motion. That’s how interesting chemistry can get!

  1. Hot ice

 Using vinegar and baking soda, hot ice, or rather sodium acetate can be created on your own! And when this hot ice is cooled below its melting point, the exothermic reaction releases heat and hence it is ‘hot’ ice. Just add a crystal of sodium acetate to this existing solution and watch the rapid crystallisation happen!


  1. Homemade non-toxic glue using milk

 When we mix vinegar and milk, casein is produced. Casein is a flexible protein and when vinegar and baking soda is added to the “curd”, it reacts with the remaining acid to result in carbon dioxide, sodium acetate and water. Thanks to the escape of carbon dioxide, the sticky glue is formed, however how sticky the glue can get depends on the proportion of water included.

Is super glue on the other hand seriously impossible to wash on when in contact with skin? Soak your skin in warm water and then apply acetone-based nail polish REMOVER. That’s why I don’t use super glue, because I don’t like anything related to the ‘world of nail polish’.

Just kidding! I mean I do use super glue, but not nail polish “stuff”, whatever they call it!


  1. Cut apples turn brown

 When apples or other similar fruits are cut, oxygen reacts with the enzyme, tyrosinase, and some iron-containing phenols, they turn brown. So, make sure not to expose cut apples to the air…don’t let the apples breathe!


  1. How harmful are coke and durian together?

 It’s not as harmful as we expect but it is encouraged to avoid this combination as it could lead to uncomfortable ingestion issues.







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