Being stuck inside is hard – but today’s blog will show you how to make lemonade out of lemons by doing a few fun science experiments.
Materials: ½ lemon, saucer, water, teaspoon, cotton swab, white paper and a lamp
What to do: Squeeze the lemon juice into the saucer. Add a few drops of water and mix well with the spoon. Dip the swab into the lemon juice. Then use the swab to write a message on ordinary white paper. When it dries, the writing will be invisible. When you want to read the message, heat the paper by holding it near a light bulb.
What happens: The words appear on the page!
Why? The juice of lemons and other fruits contain compounds of carbon. These compounds are nearly colorless when you dissolve them in water. But, when you heat them, the carbon compounds break down and produce carbon, which is black.
Materials: 2 lemons, small glass, 10-20 dull copper pennies, salt and a large, clean nail.
What to do: Squeeze the lemon juice into the glass. Put the pennies into the glass a few at a time. The lemon juice should cover them. Add a pinch of salt. Let the pennies stand for three minutes. Meanwhile, clean the nail with scouring powder and water. Put the nail into the glass. Wait at least 15 minutes, then fish out the nail.
What happens: The nail is coated with copper!
Why? Copper from the pennies interacts with the acid of the lemon juice to form a new compound (copper citrate). When you put the nail into the solution, the compound plates the nail with a thin layer of copper that cannot be rubbed off.
Save that Apple!
Materials: Apple, lemon, small knife, small plate.
What to do: Cut the apple into four parts. Put the apple pieces on the plate then squeeze lemon juice on two of them. Let all the apple pieces stand for three hours.
What happens: The pieces of apple that were not treated with lemon turn brown. The apple pieces that were covered with lemon juice do not turn brown.
Why? When exposed to air, certain chemicals in the apple react by destroying cells, which turn brown. But the Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in the lemon slows down the reaction between the chemicals in the fruit and the oxygen in the air. This preserves the color and taste of the apple.
You can find these and many more experiments in the book “365 Simple Science Experiments with Everyday Materials”.