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RS Clare Continue To Support Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum Trust Limited Chemistry at Work Week

Recently, our Development Chemist Julian had the opportunity to participate in the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre and Museum Trust Limited Chemistry at Work Week event. This event provided an excellent platform for Julian to showcase his amazing experiments to young people with a keen interest in chemistry. Julian’s experiments were not only fascinating but also educational, as he demonstrated how different chemical reactions can be used to create new compounds and materials.

Julianā€™s brief was to capture the imagination of the school children by providing visual, hands on and educationally relevant material. After giving an introduction about himself and RS Clare, Julian proceeded to talk about hot and cold chemistry. The highlights were allowing the students to handle dry ice, and using it to make Harry Potter style potions! Children loved the clouds and clouds of smoke that were generated when a beaker of dry ice was added to hot water! What really caught their attention was the demonstration of rocket fuel and rocketry using household materials ā€“ an empty 2 litre plastic bottle with a small hole in the bottom and some bio-ethanol. Julian explained how ethanol has a long history in rocketry going back to the German V2 rocket in World War 2. When Julian said he was going to set it on fire, there was much excitement, but the fire produced was underwhelming. It was explained that it isnā€™t enough to have fuel, the fuel needs to be well mixed with the air to make the reaction go faster. This is where the bottle came in, ethanol was added, encouraged to evaporate and a lighter held next to the hole. With a big whoosh, to the childrenā€™s delight the bottle flew across the room. The finale was another rocketry experiment, except that ethanol was swapped for natural gas and the air replaced with 100% oxygen. Despite the bottle being a quarter of the size, when ignited, the BANG! was deafening. After the children had got their breath back, some questions were asked before they were whisked away to their next talk.

Julian’s experiments were a hit with the young audience, who left feeling inspired and excited about chemistry. They were able to see first-hand how chemistry plays a vital role in our everyday lives, from the medicines we take to the materials we use. Overall, it was an incredible experience for both Julian and the young people who attended.

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