Geek Products

July 18, 2012

Hand Boiler Science Toy

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A classic science experiment in the palm of your hand

Geeks of a certain age may have gotten their love of science from Mr. Wizard, who demystified light refraction and heat conduction with simple experiments. Others were big fans of Beakman’s World who learned, between pizza binging, that there can be as many as 3 million worms in an acre of pasture. Even now, Bill Nye (the science guy) rains down knowledge on us from his home in Los Angeles where he competes with Ed Begley Jr. for the greenest home.

One bit of entertaining scientific gobbledygook each of them could easily demonstrate was Charles’s Law. No, not the rules in Scott Baio’s house, Jacques Charles says that a volume of gas, at a constant pressure, expands as the temperature increases. This law is demonstrated by this twisty little glass bottle, here

The colored fluid in the bottom bulb is ethyl alcohol, a chemical with a low boiling point, or the temperature at which it boils. In fact, that boiling point is closer to body temperature. By capturing it in this pretty little bottle, we see that, as the fluid heats up, it evaporates and tries to expand, but it has nowhere to go but up into this twisty loopty-loop of glass. It flows upwards into the top bulb where it appears to bubble and boil.

It’s a simple demonstration of complex scientific principles – the same kind Mr. Wizard, Beakman and Bill Nye tried to teach us every week.

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