Electrodes made from pencil lead are attached to a 9V battery to electrolyze various solutions. Oxidation occurs and the anode and reduction occurs at the cathode. When a solution of tin (II) chloride is electrolyzed tin metal and chlorine gas are produced:
SnCl2 (aq) → Sn (s) + Cl2 (g)
When a solution of copper (II) chloride is electrolyzed copper metal and chlorine gas are produced:
CuCl2 aq) → Cu (s) + Cl2 (g)


thermite, cannon balls

As two rusty cannon balls (one covered in aluminum foil) are smashed together, sparks and a cracking sound are produced.
Fe2O3 (s) + 2Al (s) → Al2O3 (s) + 2Fe (s)

Zinc + Ammonium Nitrate

This is a very exciting exothermic reaction that produces a flame and a lot of smoke.
Zn + NH4NO3 → N2 + ZnO + 2 H2O, NaCl is a catalyst

Colorful Oxidation States

This demo has a solution in a flask that changes color from pink to blue to green to yellow to orange as the solution is stirred. The different colors are due to the different oxidation states of Mn.

Gummy Bear Sacrifice

gummy bear in potassium perchlorate

Potassium chlorate is such a strong oxidizer that when a gummy bear, which is mostly sugar, is placed into it, the sugar is oxidized violently producing noise and a flame. This demo can be used to discuss strong oxidizers as well as how much energy is in sugar.

Gold and Silver Pennies

plating pennies with zinc silver pennies gold pennies

This demo uses sodium hydroxide to plate Zn on the surface of a copper penny, making it appear silver in color. Zinc is oxidized in sodium hydroxide. The remaining electroplating process is not fully understood. The silvery penny can be heated to melt the zinc and copper together, creating a gold colored alloy.

Decomposition of Ammonium Dichromate

ammonium dichromate on fire, decomposition

This demo decomposes ammonium dichromate using a fuse soaked in ethanol. The reaction is a violent one, that resembles a volcano. Ammonium dichromate is an orange solid, while chromium (III) oxide is a dark green solid.
(NH4)2Cr2O7(s) → Cr2O3(s) + N2(g) + 4H2O(g)

Blue Bottle Demo

methylene blue equilibrium under basic conditions

Under basic conditions glucose is oxidized while methylene blue is reduced, changing from blue to colorless. The reduction reaction can be reversed by shaking the flask which forces oxygen into solution, which oxidizes the methylene blue, thus turning it back to blue. If the flask is let sit, the oxygen will come out of solution making the solution colorless and ready to shake again.

Black Foam

When sugar is reacted with concentrated sulfuric acid it creates a black foam made of elemental carbon. The water that is produced in the reaction is gaseous and causes the foam to rise.
H2SO4 + C12H22O11 → 12C + 11H2O + a mixture of acid and water

Aluminium Foil and NaOH

aluminum foil and sodium hydroxide produce hydrogen gas

This demo simulates what happens when Drano is poured down a clogged drain; the hydrogen gas produced forces gunk out of the drain. Also, this demonstration is a good safety example of why bases need to be handled carefully – they can be corrosive, especially to metals. If the hydrogen gas is collected and ignited, this demo shows the safety hazards that evolved gases can have.
2Al + 2NaOH + 6H2O → 2NaAl(OH)4 + 3H2