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Tas
81393.  Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:18 am Reply with quote

Click on the link below, for details of a very large explosion that takes place every few decades.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/461882/exploding_star_within_a_star__a_recurrent_nova/index.html

QI, if you like astronomical phenomena. Anyone know of any other QI explosions?

:-)

Tas

 
Flash
81503.  Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:07 pm Reply with quote

From the huge to the ridiculous, there's the Bombardier Beetle and his exploding bottom to consider: post 2291.

 
Jenny
81527.  Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:56 pm Reply with quote

I have a fondness for the bombardier beetle.

 
Kevino7
81615.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:35 am Reply with quote

I remember that the show Brainiac had explosions which different chemicals to produce different coloured flames. I suppose if I could find a list ( ;) ). It would be QI

 
Tas
81637.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:23 am Reply with quote

Copper is Green
Iron (I imagine) is Red

any advances from chemsitry boffins or elves?

:-)

Tas

 
suze
81645.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:39 am Reply with quote

I'm neither of the above, but I used to like chemistry class - it could have been my next choice for my university subject.

And this sounds very much like the "flame test" - an elementary qualitative analysis technique. All you had to do was put a bit of powder on a wire and then stick it in the flame - and depending what colour the flame was, it told you what metal was present.

IIRC sodium is yellow/orange, potassium is pink/purple and calcium is red. Copper was either green or blue - I can't remember the details, but I suspect one colour indicated Cu+ and the other Cu2+.

I can't remember the results for iron either, but I do recall that one performed some other test to distinguish between Fe2+ and Fe3+.

 
samivel
81694.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:20 pm Reply with quote

I enjoyed dropping lumps of potassium in water. That was a good explosion.

 
mckeonj
81712.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 2:57 pm Reply with quote

Wasn't there a piece about exploding flour in an earlier QI? Someone correctly identified the chemical equation thereof, as I recall.

 
grizzly
81715.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote

That was the custard powder/cornflour explosion (although the formula was incorrect)

 
Flash
81719.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:31 pm Reply with quote

Sort of, grizzly - the formula given was, effectively, respiration. It also describes the oxidation of glucose - or, as Helen Atkinson-Wood said, an explosion in a custard factory.

 
XDL
81722.  Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:49 pm Reply with quote

I remain a fan of the good ol' baking powder and vinegar. That's always good for a laugh. I also like testing potassium with anything I can find in my school's science storeroom. It's amazing how reactive potassium is. It's a wonder air deosn't make it explode into a million pieces.

 
grizzly
81746.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:27 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Sort of, grizzly - the formula given was, effectively, respiration. It also describes the oxidation of glucose - or, as Helen Atkinson-Wood said, an explosion in a custard factory.


The difference was that it specified glucose as a solid, which it isn't (it's aqueousin respiration, besides cornflour doesn't have glucose in it). The formula needed to take account of the fact that it is starch which is contained in the cornflour and not glucose (there are differences in the chemical formula).

 
Flash
81747.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:29 am Reply with quote

Yes - not our finest hour, I know.

 
grizzly
81748.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:29 am Reply with quote

Caesium is even more reactive that Potassium. Sadly it's radioactive so they wont let you do those sorts of tests in school.

 
Celebaelin
81769.  Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:37 am Reply with quote

Tas wrote:
Copper is Green
Iron (I imagine) is Red

any advances from chemsitry boffins or elves?

:-)

Tas

Sodium is orange
Magnesium is 'white', as in white light
Strontium is red IIRC
Potasium is lilac
Barium is green

Taking a quick look around there seems to be some disagreement on different sites about flame test colours. I don't agree with any of the sites on some suggested colours; for instance I would say that sodium is definitely orange, like street lamps, whereas wiki and others state that it is yellow. Now it's a long time since I did this at school but I'm 'sure' it was unsurprisingly orange. Prior to looking it up it would never have crossed my mind that it was any other colour but now I'm doubting myself.

grizzly wrote:
The formula needed to take account of the fact that it is starch which is contained in the cornflour and not glucose (there are differences in the chemical formula).

Only in that starch is a polymer of glucose with α1-4 linkages, and if the formula is intended to be respiration those are hydrolysed to give glucose prior to its oxidation.

 

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