Mercury reacting with aluminum
Aluminum, when it combines with oxygen, forms aluminum oxide, an incredibly hard substance that is scratch resistant. It doesn’t flake off (like iron oxide), sealing the rest of aluminum. But mercury disrupts that seal – it combines with aluminum, tearing it off from the larger structure, forming ‘feathers’ or ‘pillars’ of oxide up from the pool of mercury.
Aluminum reaction with iodine
The reaction between aluminium and iodine is catalysed by water. It’s a spectacular demonstration as clouds of purple iodine vapour are produced. Sometimes, the reaction can be extremely violent.
The mechanism for this reaction is very complex and is thought to involve around 18 different steps which have been the subject of a number of research papers. The classic BZ reaction involves potassium bromate, cerium(IV) sulfate, and propanedioic acid (aka malonic acid) in dilute sulfuric acid. The color changes are due to the oscillating oxidation state of cerium.
Blood meets hydrogen peroxide
Many people have felt this reaction on their own skin. Hydrogen peroxide is good for cutting cuts and scrapes… but why does it foam like this? Well, it does this because blood and cells contain an enzyme called catalase. When the catalase comes in contact with hydrogen peroxide, it turns the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into water (H2O) and oxygen gas (O2).
Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide
Two solutions are mixed resulting in an eruption of foam resembling a huge stream of toothpaste. This is the classic “Elephant Toothpaste” reaction.
As surreal as it may seem, treeing of solid high-voltage cable insulation is a common breakdown mechanism and source of electrical faults in underground power cables. In electrical engineering, treeing is an electrical pre-breakdown phenomenon in solid insulation. It is a damaging process due to partial discharges.
A flashbulb burning out
The bulb is filled with magnesium wire, and when the camera’s shutter trips, current is passed through the wire, which ignores the magnesium and produces a bright flash.
Alpha particle trails from radioactive decay of Radon 220
Combustion of mercury thiocyanate
White tin crumbling into grey tin after cooling to less than 13 degrees Celsius
Snake venom meets blood
Sodium acetate crystallization
Dehydration of sugar in sulfuric acid
Portal to hell?