March 3, 2009
I actually bought 450 grams of strontium chloride on Ebay today. I can't wait to go by the TSA again.
This week I've been running about frantically on a scavenger hunt around Columbus tracking down materials I used to take for granted while working in a big fancy corporate laboratory. Now, I'm in Lowe's, on Ebay, on Youtube hunting down information and materials.
Thursday, I'll be doing a demo for the kiddies; it is practically a cliché on Youtube, the electric pickle demo. On the fun side, it's a wild display that lights up a pickle with 120 V and turns it into a malodorous, desalted bit of limp flesh. On the serious side, it's a fun way to observe atomic absorption using different ionic metals. It plays well on many levels.
After scanning about a hundred of these vids, I wanted to do some variations on the theme to extend the exercise. Today, I stumbled on a great paper published in 2005 that executed what I wanted to do. It's great work with all the details worked out. Not a hard thing to prepare for, but it takes a lot of time, takes a couple weeks to prepare the pickles. I'm going to do the more elaborate demo at the end of the year and do the short version this Thursday as a teaser.
My basement looks like a torture chamber for pickled vegetables and it smells weird. I have time for a couple more practice runs tomorrow and I hope I'll be ready.
I do think the guys at Lowe's may think a bit before asking the next harried customer "... well, what do you need that for?"
Electric Pickle videos
A great paper on the demo.