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Separating pigments (colors) in a washable marker.
You will need:
Paper towel, porous paper, napkin or coffee filter
a cup filled with water
1) Cut your paper towel (or similar) into long strips about 3/4 -1" wide.
2) Draw a very large solid dot about halfway in the center of the strip with the washable marker. Brown and black work great because they have a lot of colors in them.
3) dip one end of the strip in water and prop up the other end on just about anything. Don't dunk the dot in the water.
4) As the water is wicked up on the strip, it will pass by the colored dot and separate the colors. Pigments are molecules of different sizes. The smaller pigments will move further up the strip than larger pigments. (Red is often a very large molecule so will stay low on the strip).
Scientists separate all sorts of molecules by similar methods. This particular method of separating colors is called chromatography.
Testing electrical conductivity of pencil "lead" (really a mixture of the mineral graphite and clay)
other writing utensils
1) Draw a very thick and heavy line on a piece of paper with your pencil. For comparison/experimental purposes, you might also draw lines with markers, pens or crayons.
2) Take your multimeter and set it to measure ohms (resistance) Check the users manual if you need help determining what that setting is. Touch your leads in two places on the different lines and take a reading. Does the reading change depending on how thick the line is or how far apart the leads are?
Making the novel material graphene from graphite.
As mentioned in the segment, a pair of scientists won the physics Nobel prize in 2010 for their discovery of graphene, which is a very thin layer of graphite only one atom thick. Graphene is strong, flexible and transparent and is one of the best conductors of electricity.
The scientists made graphene by applying graphite to a piece of adhesive tape and adding another piece of tape on top and peeling off half of it. Each "half' would then be subjected to the peeling with a new piece of tape over and over until you had only one molecule thick. You would only know this happened by using a special microscope. So, maybe you won't know when you have graphene, but you can see that sometimes scientists do very simple things to create very momentous results.
Making an eraser/superball/"silly putty" with school glue.
This is a very popular recipe and one that is easy to do.
You will need:
borax (found in the laundry section of the store)
cornstarch (found in the baking section of the store)
white glue (e.g., Elmer's glue - makes an opaque ball) or blue or clear school glue (makes a translucent ball)
food coloring (optional)