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Crystal Lagoon
Create colourful chemical brain coral, magically levitate objects and defy gravity with chemical hoopla rings!

Age Grading: 10+ Years
Product Code: WS/17

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Detailed introduction
  • Completely unique multicoloured coral gardens created by chemical reactions between two liquids!
  • Master the skills of density gradients to levitate a smart seahorse. Explore the science of semi permeable gel membranes to grow fantastic underwater corals and trees!
  • NERD ALERT!

    This Nerd Alert provides extra information and scientific facts about Aroma Art!

    We think this is a unique 'chemical art' experimentation set. Unlike any on Planet Earth so far! We have been playing with it for ages but we are sure there are heaps more tricks for you to discover! There are two basic ideas we used when we invented it:

    1. When Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) reacts with Water glass (Sodium silicate) it makes a kind of spongy gel shell that lets the tiny water molecules through but which stops the bigger chemical molecules.
    2. Both substances dissolve in water to make very heavy (dense) liquids.

    We just played and played and played with what we call 'density' gradients' and our instant gel reactions until we had discovered squishy coral, smart seahorses and antigravity doughnuts. Not to mention Titanic rusticles and more! Oh we mentioned the rusticles! But we are sure there is much more to discover!

    THE PHYSICS
    Sodium Silicate can make very dense solutions that look just like water but are much heavier. This means we can 'float' lighter solutions over heavier or denser ones to make what we call density gradients.
    This happens in nature too. Fresh water from big rivers can flow hundreds of kilometers on top of salt sea water before it mixes. You can even have fresh water fish above, and salt water fish below!
    It just so happens that our sea horse plastic is denser than water but less dense than some sodium silicate solutions.
    Amazingly Magnesium sulfate can also make density gradients like sodium silicate.

    THE CHEMISTRY
    When Magnesium Sulfate meets Sodium Silicate solution a gel of Magnesium Silicate forms instantly.
    Now, if the magnesium sulfate is very concentrated inside the gel, (for instance a crystal), it will suck water out of the sodium silicate through the gel-shell! This process is called osmosis
    So the gel swells and pops. Magnesium Sulfate solution floods out, meets the Sodium Silicate and more gel forms, more water comes in and in no time you are growing a chemical garden.
    Depending on the density of the sodium silicate solution, branches can grow upwards like plants or downwards like icicles.

    WHAT ABOUT A WILD NEW CAREER?
    Now, you may be thinking what has this to do with real life science? Our answer - everything! Density gradients are used everyday in medical laboratories to separate out cells and DNA fragments, viruses and bacteria, ultimately to save lives. Gels and osmosis are at the forefront in research for emergency water filtration and purification methods and more. If the world had clean water for everyone, disease and malnutrition would be much easier to fight. Gels Osmosis and Density Gradients? Right now we just make it serious fun.

    EXPERIMENTS

    • Try mixing new colours in the Magnesium Sulfate. Yellow and blue to make green and blue and red to make purple.
    • Try INJECTING a different colour inside a piece of gel coral that you have already made. Can you guess what might happen?
    • Try making a tiny clay volcano packed with Magnesium Sulfate crystals. Make a few holes in it. What do you guess might happen in sodium silicate solution?

    WHAT ELSE CAN YOU THINK OF?

    FAQ
    Q1. What I can use to remove 'crystal liquid stains' from a carpet?

    A1. Sorry to hear you have 'crystallised your carpet'.

    The base chemical is ammonium monophosphate which is itself colourless and harmless. ( It is also an agricultural fertilizer.)

    1 If it is this alone that you have spilled, just use a sponge in cold or room temp water to repeatedly and alternately to soak, dissolve and then re-absorb the chemical in the wrung out sponge. Try not to let the patch spread out too far.

    2 If the weather is very dry, you could also wait until it has dried out totally and you have white powdery crystals showing up, then vacuum thoroughly. If you have a beater-head on the cleaner, all the better. Then, just to finish off, try the sponge treatment too.

    3 If you have spilled the chemical with the (food) colourant in it, best start with strategy 2. After vacuuming then use a carpet stain remover liquid and sponge on and off. That should do it. If some stain still remains, use ”„Napisan”¦ or another non-chlorine based clothes stain remover.

    4 If some stain still remains - sorry, you just have to wait. The colourant is food grade and biodegradable and will loose colour with time and wear.



    Q2. What is a Saturated Solution?

    A2. A If you dissolve lots of small crystals in water until no more will dissolve, you have made a SATURATED solution.
    The hotter the water, the more chemical crystals you can dissolve before it gets saturated.
    The solution is usually a lot denser ( or heavier) than plain water, so our Magic Rocks ( in some kits only) will float when the solution is saturated. It is one scientific way of knowing if a liquid is plain water or has dissolved chemical in it.
    Then as the solution cools or dries out, the water just can't hold that much chemical in solution. So crystals start to form. And they are usually a LOT bigger than the ones you put in.



    Q3. More Sodium Silicate solution?

    A3. Sodium Silicate solution is used in large quantities in the paper and cement manufacturing trades but public access is very difficult these days. The old common name is 'waterglass' and was used for home preservation of eggs. The problem is that there are many variants which can be very dark in colour, very caustic, widely varying in density and quite dangerous. Our variant is specifically sourced for its density, clarity, and is the safest and lowest alkalinity available. Sorry , we can't help with a public source. Do beware of very caustic solutions.



    Q4. Seahourse/Skull doesn”¦t float in the middle of tank?

    A4. You might have broken boundary of the density layers, try squeeze denser Sodium Silicate solution at the bottom carefully, see if it starts to float. Or you have to start over the steps of ”„training”¦ again, and pour the solution very smoothly and slowly, use the spoon and lean it against the wall of tank.



    Q5. Squeeze out the solution into the tank but there is no coral?

    A5. You need to fill your tank with the sodium silicate solution exactly as on page 11. Then you add the magnesium sulfate solutions to it.
    We think you just have started with a new tank of plain water on page 12! You need to use a sodium silicate tank from page 11. Or there is no Magnesium Sulfate salt dissolved in the coloured solution, or it”¦s too diluted!



    Q6. How do you clean out the tanks?

    A6. To clean out the old tanks, tip the old mixture away, rinse, and just use a brush or cloth in warm soapy water. The mixture is best tipped into the garbage. The coral is very soft and crumbly and soon washes away.



    Q7. Why is my yellow dye cloudy lumpy and/or solid?

    A7. This sometimes happens to the yellow coloured dye when it gets too cold. Just shake it and warm it up in your hands, or keep it in a warmer place.



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