Written by: on February 11, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

Love has a lot to do with chemistry, so if you’re looking to connect Valentine’s Day with chemistry, you’ve come to the right place.

Take a look at these FUN and simple experiments that relate to Valentine’s Day.

Crystal Heart Decoration:

This crystal heart only takes a couple of hours to grow & makes a pretty Valentine’s Day decoration!

 Materials Needed:

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Pipecleaner

Directions:

  1. Shape the pipecleaner like a heart. It’s fine to have a ‘stem’ at the bottom of the heart, since this will give you a way to suspend the heart in the crystal growing solution. You can always clip it later with scissors or wire cutters.
  2. Prepare the crystal growing solution by stirring borax into boiling hot water until it stops dissolving. You can tell you have enough borax if a little powder starts to accumulate in the bottom of the container.
  3. Add food coloring, if desired. Alternatively, if you want a colored heart you can simply use colored pipecleaners.
  4. Place your heart shape into a container. It’s best if the heart doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of the container, which you can achieve by hanging the heart from a pencil or butter knife. However, you’ll get decent results just setting the heart into the container.
  5. Pour the borax crystal solution into the container, being certain all of the heart is covered. Try to avoid getting any undissolved solid into this container.
  6. Allow the crystals to grow on the heart for several hours or overnight. When you are satisfied with the crystals on the heart, remove it from the crystal solution and allow it to dry. You can hang the heart as a decoration. The crystal heart may be stored wrapped in tissue paper.

Make Colored Flowers:

It’s easy to make your own colored flowers for Valentine’s Day, especially carnations and daisies, but there are a couple of tricks that help ensure great results. Here’s how you do it.

 

Materials Needed:

  • Fresh Flowers, preferably white – don’t use wilted flowers since they might not be able to absorb water well.  Good choices include daisies and carnations.
  • Food coloring
  • Warm water

Directions:

  1. Trim the stems of your flowers so they aren’t excessively long.
  2. Make a slanted cut at the base of the stem under water. The cut is slanted so that the stem won’t sit flat on the bottom of the container. A flat cut can prevent the flower from taking in water. Make the cut underwater to prevent air bubbles from forming in the tiny tubes at base of the stem, which would prevent water/color from being drawn up.
  3. Add food coloring to a glass. You’re looking at about 20-30 drops of food coloring per half cup of warm water. Warm water will be taken more readily than cold water.
  4. Set the damp stem of the flower in the colored water. The petals should become colored after a few hours. It may take as long as 24 hours, however, depending on the flower.
  5. You can set the colored flowers in plain water or flower preservative, but they will continue to drink water, changing the pattern of the color over time.

Getting Fancy

You can slit the stem up the middle and put each side in a different color to get bi-colored flowers. What do you think you will get if you put half of the stem in blue dye and half in yellow dye? What do you think will happen if you take a colored flower and put its stem in dye of a different color?

How It Works

A few different processes are involved in plant ‘drinking’ or transpiration. As water evaporates from flowers and leaves, the attractive force between water molecules called cohesion pulls more water along. Water is pulled up through tiny tubes (xylem) that run up a plant’s stem. Although gravity might want to pull the water back down toward the ground, water sticks to itself and these tubes. This capillary action keeps water in the xylem in much the same way as water stays in a straw when you suck water through it, except evaporation and biochemical reactions provide the initial upward pull.

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