Posts Tagged ‘chromatography’

h1

2.9 Podcast 6 – Chemical Christmas & Christmas Memories

December 20, 2009

Podcast Feed

This Christmas I have 3 (4) ornaments to share with you.  One chemistry, one yarn, and two fabric wreaths (variations on the same idea).

The Chemistry Borax Crystal Snowflake Ornament

Growing crystals from super saturated solutions is something that you can do easily with household products.  A supersaturated solution is one that you force a liquid (typically liquid solvent) to dissolve more solid (called a precipitate  solute) than it typically can hold.  Most of the time, heating a solution can force the solution to dissolve more solids, and then as the solution cools, the solids come out of solution – sometimes in the form of crystals.  Alton Brown says that even fudge is a crystal structure, so crystals are found everywhere this time of year.

To grow borax crystals

Materials

  • several pipe cleaners
  • something to cut pipe cleaners (NOT fabric scissors)
  • a string or fishing line
  • a pencil or pen
  • a wide glass jar
  • hot (boiling) water – just enough to almost fill up the jar but not too full
  • Mule Team Borax laundry booster
  • (You can substitute sugar crystals for borax, but I think they take longer to crystallize)
  • (I wonder if you could substitute fabric pieces for pipe cleaners.  If anyone does this, I’d be curious to know)

Procedure for creating crystal snowflakes (or you could do a star of david, or other object you want to crystallize)

1.  Cut the pipe cleaner into sections to create the crystalized shape

2.  Tie your fishing line or string around one side of the snowflake.

3.  Place the pencil across the top of the jar such that your ornament hangs in the jar without touching the bottom. 

4.  Any snowflake too high up will not have water on it, and thus may not form crystals.  Make sure the sides don’t touch the jar either for more perfect crystals.

5.  Remove the snowflake once you get it to the right height in the jar. 

6.  Add water to the jar near the top (or you can put this in a microwave safe measuring cup that holds the same amount of water as the jar). 

7.  Microwave for at least three minutes.  If you’re worried about superheating your water, place a chopstick in the water as it sits in the microwave.

8.  Use a hot pad or towel to CAREFULLY remove the jar from the microwave.

9.  Add borax crystals until you can’t get any more to dissolve and start to see borax staying on the bottom.  This takes a lot of stirring and a lot of patience.  I had to remelt my crystals after the first night because I was too impatient and I thought I had enough borax the first night. 

10.  Keep adding and stirring, and if you need to, carefully pour off some of the excess water so you don’t spill over onto the floor.  Remember that the snowflake is also going to displace some of the water so you may have more liquid than you realize.

11.  Add the food coloring to the jar, and then put in the snowflake into the jar.  (the following picture shows too little borax dissolved to get a good result.  Add more borax than this.

12.  Wait overnight at least for the solution to cool to room temperature.  If you have multiple jars / snowflakes you could try putting one in the fridge (be careful!) to see what type of crystals form.  Crystals forms differently with different amounts of starting temperatures and cooling rates.

13.  Take a paper towel and place the completed crystal on the paper towel giving it time to dry.  This snowflake you can see a little bit of blue tint to it with lots of crystals.

 Another ornament I made this year

The dragon boat ornament from Jennifer Ackerman-Heywood at CraftSanity.  I had black yarn available, and I used a piece of cardstock and cut out her template on her site.

Christmas Wreaths made from fabric scraps

Styrofoam Wreaths – Wreath Variation #1

  1. Take a styrofoam wreath shape – cut out from various styrofoam leftovers from presents!
  2. Take scraps of fabric 2 inches square or so – pinked edges look nice here
  3. Wrap the fabric right side towards a pencil
  4. Dip the pencil in Elmer’s glue (or maybe Eileen’s tacky glue)
  5. Stick the fabric into the styrofoam
  6. Repeat the process until the wreath is completed

Wire Wreath – Wreath Variation #2

  • Bend a wire hanger or pipe cleaner into a circle

  • Use small strips of fabric, cut into sections
  • Tie each section of fabric around the wire
  • Repeat for all the fabric pieces around the outside of the wreath.

   

This particular wreath is a little messy.  With more time and patience, these can look quite nice.

Other chemistry christmas ornaments to try

Additional Resources

Christmas Memories

One christmas memory from each of the people in my immediate family that is no longer with me.

Grandpa – Polka music (Watch out it’s loud!)

Grandma – Cross stitched snow globe angel – Free Design at Black Swan Designs

Mother – Lighted candle angel

Grandma – Amazing Grace church

h1

1.9 Podcast Episode 3 Color Chromatography & Crochet Cell

November 28, 2009

 

Podcast Feed

I was visiting Craftster last week and I found some excellent projects that are perfect for this blog & podcast!  The first is Color Chromatography which is something I am passionate and excited about!

Picture from IamSusie on Craftster

If you look at the craftster site, you find lots of wonderful pictures, a description of the process, the inspiration for the designs, and a lot of wonderful discussion about the process by other Craftster users.

Color Chromatography is a very simple idea that has a scientific concept behind it.  Chromatography is a method of separating substances into the different parts that make them up.  Color chromatography is when you take one color and separate the different colors out. 

The way you do this is you take fabric (called a stationary phase) and Sharpie marker (pigment – what you want to separate) and let rubbing alcohol (the mobile phase that moves the pigment) run over the fabric. 

Rubbing alcohol spreads out on the fabric and takes part of the marker pigment and travels it out.  The pigment “sticks” to the alcohol more than it “sticks” to the fabric, so it travels along the wet area of the alcohol until it dries or the alcohol doesn’t spread out anymore. 

A personal experiment with Chromatography because of this post:

I traced a bird from a free coloring page with Sharpies.

After I put rubbing alcohol on the fabric. Notice how I used hangers and binder clips to allow this to dry!  The tail isn’t exactly what I was envisioning (too much alcohol on the tail too quickly), but still looks interesting.

I saw someone who made minimalist trees with green dots, which inspired me to make this.  The leaf part dried overnight and then this is when I am just putting alcohol outside the trunk to color it in.

A geometric design with a view of my work station.  All I drew was criss cross lines.  This is a little ‘washed out’ to to true colors on the fabric.

A before and after of another strip design.  Before:

After:

The other Craftster post that caught my eye this time.  This is not quilting, but crochet, and instead of having a science concept, it has a scientific topic.

Picture from Sally Le Strange from Craftster

If you look at the craftster site, you will be linked to a post that has multiple detailed pictures that describe the parts of the cell accurately.  An A+ project for sure!

My new favorite free motion machine quilting site. 

Picture from Leah Day from 365 Free Motion Filler Designs

This blog showcases a new free motion filler design daily (or about daily) with full explanation, video, description and ideas for using the designs in your quilt.  Leah Day’s videos are short, but informative, showing you just enough of the technique to help you get started. 

She tells you if the pattern is beginning or advanced, in addition to having a video that shows her ideal setup and notions for free motion quilting.  Best thing is – no stencils.  If that intimidates you, she has a couple of DVD’s and worksheets to practice. 

Up to posts in the 90’s she’s come a long way in a short period of time. I haven’t practiced any of these myself, but I am using them as ideas on what I want to quilt, and when I get back to the quilting stage on my tops, I’ll be sure to check out her blog for much needed inspiration and guidance!

After searching I found the pdf website from which I read off the article from Optics and Photonics News 1990.  Good suggestions of homemade dyes!

Thanks to the following podcasters who have left comments (so far)!

Allison Rosen @ Within a Quarter Inch

Ruthann Logsden-Zaroff @ Mirkwood Designs

Kelley @ The Pioneer Quilter

Also thanks to Robyn and Gail who commented in the Big Tent group, in addition to Sarah from “real life” for listening!

Keep Experimenting!

 – SQ