Liquid Silver – Kailey Shara

Liquid Silver – Kailey Shara

Two clear and colorless liquids mix together to yield dark gray wisps of silver metal in this chemistry demonstration. The round flask is filled with a 0.5 molar solution of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), while the glass pipette introduced near the top of the flask is filled with a 0.5 molar solution of silver nitrate (AgNO3). The silver ions (Ag+) in the silver nitrate solution are highly soluble in water, and lend no color to the solution to the naked eye. When mixed with ascorbic acid, however, a chemical reaction takes place, whereby the silver ions are reduced to elemental silver (Ag). Because this is happening in a solution, the silver is largely formed as nanoparticles: extraordinarily fine silver dust. These silver nanoparticles both block and scatter light, turning the previously clear flask a dark shade of gray.

I find this interesting from a flow visualization perspective, as the mixing of the two solutions is invisible until a chemical reaction takes place. This chemical reaction produces a particle “fluid tracker” in situ to visualize the fluid flow, while the silver nanoparticles likely alter the fluid dynamics as they are created. As the silver ions become elemental silver, the density of the silver nitrate solution drops precipitously at the interface between the two solutions. In contrast, the reacted ascorbic acid, known as dehydroascorbic acid, remains in solution, and thus the density of the ascorbic acid/dehydroascorbic acid solution should in theory change very little.

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • Byron Pullutasig
    Oct 9, 2019 12:09

    The music pairs well with the video.

    Reply
  • Brian Gomez
    Oct 4, 2019 12:21

    Very interesting video, I thought this was smoke being pumped in at first glance. I also find the music very fitting to the content of the video.

    Reply
  • Aaron Zetley
    Oct 4, 2019 12:20

    Loved how the music related to the movement. The movement of light within the glass of the fluid is really beautiful. It is amazing how you can see the silver nitrate react with the acid to form silver particulate.

    Reply
  • Julian Cruz
    Oct 4, 2019 12:20

    The jet between the interface and the chemical reaction that allows the particle tracers to visualize this reaction are extremely interesting

    Reply
  • Brooke Shade
    Oct 4, 2019 12:20

    I love the stillness of the round-bottomed flask compared to the motion of the flow. Great explanation of the physics and chemistry as well! What was your lighting and background setup?

    Reply
  • Nicholas Tyler Scott
    Oct 4, 2019 12:19

    I like the use of a chemical reaction, it adds a whole new layer to the video beyond just the visualization of a flow.

    Reply
  • Peter Armstrong
    Oct 4, 2019 12:19

    Certainly a cool video and effect that your’re capturing, but I really can’t tell exactly what is happening, which makes it interesting to watch. It gives something of an other worldly feeling.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Cohen
    Oct 4, 2019 12:19

    It looks like the fluid is in a bubble which is quite an interesting effect.

    Reply
  • Kensue Kiatoukaysy
    Oct 4, 2019 12:19

    It reminds of something out of Disney movie with the music, like snow white when she ate the apple. Something seemingly so pure, turning dark.

    Reply
  • Austin Ramirez
    Oct 4, 2019 12:18

    This is a really interesting reaction that you captured very well!

    Reply
  • Sophie Adams
    Oct 4, 2019 12:18

    I love how the liquid is contained in the sphere, it adds a really interesting and pleasing addition to this composition.

    Reply

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