Breaking rocks from the inside

Did you ever forget a beverage bottle in the freezer? If not, you can be both glad and sad now: Glad, because you did not have to clean up the resulting mess (which can be quite substantial, especially if it was not just water that you forgot in the freezer). Sad, because you have missed a great opportunity to observe reaction-driven fracturing in your own kitchen. However, some people experienced it and even took pictures (figure 1):

Fig. 1: The volume increase during the phase transition from water to ice (from left to right) caused fracturing of a bottle of Julebrus, Norwegian “Christmas Soda”.

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Behind the scenes: starting a petrological experiment!

1. A: Gold capsules (not bullets) containing rock and fluid, 2 cm in length. B: Balance used to weigh capsules and their content

I had never thought experimental petrology could resemble cooking to such an extent. With some imagination you can replace the basic ingredients of your favourite pie recipe and use a rather special type of oven to make the magic happen. Actually, every experiment has its own experimental “cooking” setup, with the desired quantities of components raised to specific pressures and temperatures that will (hopefully) lead your experiment to success. Continue reading

Build your endless volcano!

A volcano? At home? Why not!

During the “Fête de la Science” event in Paris we showed that volcanoes can be represented in a quite easy way. We can draw their internal and external structure in a simple sketch, as high school students (along with some professors) did during the“Draw me a Volcano” workshop activity. However, their real structure is more complicated and it might seem difficult to build a 3D volcano. Just by using some scientific aspects, imagination, creativity and basic material we can build our own volcano. So… Let’s make one!Here is a small article that will give you an idea of how to build an endless volcano at home. It will fit your Zen garden perfectly! Continue reading