Magnesium nitride

It is said again and again that nitrogen reacts chemically “like a dead dog”. No wonders, why it is used as a protective gas in the food and chemical industry. Most often, it is used to prevent the entry of highly reactive oxygen. If you still want to persuade it to react, you have to… Continue reading Magnesium nitride

What is ammonia

Ammonia is the hydride of nitrogen, i.e. nitrogen hydride. It has the formula NH3. Its structure is not trigonal planar, but tetrahedral. Strictly speaking, it is a tetrahedral cutout. Compared to the ideal tetrahedron (like in methane), a free electron pair forms the fourth tetrahedron tip. At room temperature, ammonia is a colorless, highly corrosive… Continue reading What is ammonia

Synthesis of silver acetylide

First, set up a gas generator to produce acetylene gas. Learn how to build one here. Now lead some gas from the apparatus into a perfectly clean test tube that contains 10 ml of ammoniacal silver nitrate solution (w(AgNO3) = 1%). At first a white precipitate forms, which soon turns gray. We can also see… Continue reading Synthesis of silver acetylide

Experiments with acetylene

Addition of bromine to ethyne We put bromine water in a cylinder filled with acetylene gas and close it again. We make sure that only a little dilute bromine water is added. Then we shake well. Only a small amount of bromine is added. This is surprising, since a high level of bromine consumption is… Continue reading Experiments with acetylene

Acetylene from Calcium carbide

Almost the entire organic chemistry of the GDR was based on acetylene. However, after the fall of the Wall, they really only cared about petrochemistry. Acetylene chemistry was disposed with many others. Acetylene, or better ethyne, is still a fascinating substance. So today we want to experiment a little with it. It is made by… Continue reading Acetylene from Calcium carbide

Frozen methane bubbles

Sometimes, during the winter, some very special structures can be found on frozen lakes: frozen methane bubbles. Watch this video to see some of them in action: How is methane gas created? Shallow lakes contain a lot of mud. The mud itself contains a lot of organic material, which is decomposed by bacteria. The bacteria… Continue reading Frozen methane bubbles

How oil and natural gas once formed

In contrast to coal, it is not exactly known how oil was produced in the first place. We know, that oil is almost exclusively be found in sediment deposits below the sea. Crude oil can also be found near dried-out inland seas. In addition, we have found highly-complex compounds in crude oil, that can only… Continue reading How oil and natural gas once formed

Methane from aluminum carbide

Equipment Gas , 4 glass cylinders with flat-ground glass lids, hot plate Chemicals Aluminum carbide (F), NaOH (c = 0.05 mol / l) (Xi). How-to Put some aluminum carbide in the flask; the dropping funnel is filled with the dilute sodium hydroxide solution. Little by little sodium hydroxide solution is added to the carbide from… Continue reading Methane from aluminum carbide


Hydrocarbons build the backbone of organic chemistry. As the name suggests: they are only made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. But, this bond is so powerful, that thousands of different molecules emerge from it! Hydrogen’s valency is one, which means it can only form a single stable bond with other molecules. Carbon on the… Continue reading Hydrocarbons

Colorful Fire Recipes

The last days of the year are always super colorful, especially when it comes to fireworks. But how do all these different colors work? This is not about short-lived colored flames, which can be created by holding the appropriate salts in a Bunsen burner flame. Examples are copper (II) chloride (or alternatively a mixture of… Continue reading Colorful Fire Recipes