• Hi Y'all,

    Is there anyone on the forum with a good knowledge of chemistry? Even better if they are in London and I can buy them a few beers.

    Basically I need advice on a few sculpture ideas.



  • Is there anyone on the forum with a good knowledge of chemistry?

    I'm sure there is and I'd like to help but I'm a bit pickled at the moment.

  • what sort of chemistry are you talking about- metallurgy or basic chemistry?

  • I'm doing AS chemistry.. I've been revising that for pretty much the whole day. Fml.

  • Basically gas production...

    I'm (very early stages) working on a "slightly" exploding sculpture and one possible method would be to have increased gas pressure rupture a container. the issue is that the compounds or products used have to be relatively benign as does the gas produced.

  • using gas pressure- you could viably just use an air pump till the sculpture could no longer hold it.
    like a balloon popping, without the need for any special chemicals, just a pump. CO2 pumps could also work here, as could dry ice in warm water, or a bit of liquid nitrogen.

    Alternatively, vinegar + baking soda= CO2 so mixing that inside it will lead to a pressure build up with a harmless gas- though foamy.

    (I'd go for the first option, maybe with liquid N2, as its reliable and incredibly simple.

  • Dry ice into water? Only produces CO2. The reaction is very quick and it would be difficult to time it as it produces an awful lot of gas very quickly. Whilst not exactly benign it is ok if you have good ventilation.

  • +1 to dry ice and water....it's cheap and can give you anything from a bit of a smoke effect to a pretty big bang depending how tight you make the container seals and how much dry ice you use...another option would be hydrogen in room air, but this can be a little more violent than I think you are going for....


    ^^Is really good because it makes a whining noise for a bit (just to get everyone listening closely) before it makes a big bang....

  • How big is the sculpture? If it's a human sized one, you'll probably be better placing it outdoors. Dry ice sublimates into surprisingly large quantities of CO2 gas.

  • the other advantage to hydrogen being it only produces water on combustion.....perhaps not so good for "slightly" exploding anything though....

  • although for anyone who hasnt seen this already there are some potentially disastrous side-effects related to the biproduct:

  • Hi Guys,

    Cheers for the ideas.

    Air pressure via a pump is one method I've already investigated, the advantage is that the "device" would form part of the piece and that triggering through a valve would be relatively simple and the only mess would be the paint.

    Dry ice is a nice idea I'll have a read through on that.

    Baking soda and vinegar also has a lot of potential but the mess could compromise the rest of the work.

    Do please keep the thoughts coming, they're much appreciated.

  • How about just heating air? A sealed container with a heat source underneath it would mean the pressure would build up inside the container and it would burst.

  • another suggestion:

    Dilute acid + a Carbonate = CO2+H2O.

    Acid should be dilute enough to pour over skin without any problem.

  • a "slightly" exploding sculpture

    Big Bang? ;)

  • Hi Guys,

    Cheers again for the ideas, one person has mentioned that in the hot summer of 76 lots of fizzy drinks bottles exploded due to the increased gas pressure, maybe I should do ginger beer art...

  • potassium and water ftw

  • alcohol & chlorine?

    Very very very nice but maybe not too practical as chlorine was one of the gases used in the first world war...

    Dry ice may be the way to go.

  • Tempting though!

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Is there anyone on the forum with a good knowledge of chemistry?

Posted by Avatar for bigben @bigben