physical-chemical change

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wood and ashes
The wood in this pile will be reduced to this much ash when it is burned. What happens to the rest of the mass from the wood?

Soap Making

We took the first steps in learning about how soap was once made in the Wood Ashes experiment, using water to dissolve potassium hydroxide out of paper ashes.

If we had been serious about making soap, we would have used a lot more ashes, probably from a wood fire. We would have dissolved the potassium hydroxide in water and then would have boiled the water to concentrate the chemicals.

Wood Ash

This experiment comes from an article I read on technological developments. While reading about ways to make iron, glass, and other historic processes, I became fascinated about the section on soap making. Now, we will not go through the entire process of making soap (at least not this week), but we will experiment with the first steps in classic soap making.

A Cool Change

This time, we are going to look into the sciences of chemistry and energy. It may seem strange to be looking into two different areas of science, but it is not unusual for the areas of science to overlap.

Why Fry?

This experiment is once again food related. I was preparing our evening meal as I was thinking about possibilities for experiments. As I cooked the turnips, turnip greens, yellow squash, and steamed potatoes, I considered several ideas. Then as I began to cook the hoe cakes, I knew what we would do. Hoe cakes are similar to cornbread. You add hot water to self-rising cornmeal to make a thick batter, which is spooned into a skillet of hot oil and cooked to a golden brown. Topped with some butter, they are delicious. This started me thinking about why we fry food in oil.

The Solution to Crystals

Greetings from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Nancy and I have had a wonderful week of digging quartz crystals. The truck is now much heavier, and we are tired but delighted. It was very hard to decide what to do for this week's experiment. I thought about another experiment with retinal fatigue, since all the digging in red clay left us seeing everything with a green hue. I also thought about revisiting the fact that you cannot identify a diamond by cutting glass. The quartz crystals we are digging scratch glass very easily.

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