Ellen: Steve Spangler Science
“Our next guest loves to keep our Warner Brothers Fire Department on their toes,” Ellen joked as she introduced Steve Spangler.
Steve had been on the Ellen show several times before, and was back to promote his new book, Fire Bubbles And Exploding Toothpaste: More Unforgettable Experiments that Make Science Fun. He shared several of the experiments that he talks about in the book.
Ellen: Steve Spangler Exploding Gummy Bears
Steve told Ellen that gummy bears, like all high sugar food, are packed with energy.
Steve grabbed a handful of gummy bears and dropped them into an enormous Erlenmeyer flask filled with potassium chloride, a very strong oxidizer. As soon as the gummy bears fell into the potassium chloride, the whole flask glowed bright pink and a geyser of smoke shot out of the flask.
“The fumes are only slightly toxic, so that’s nice,” Steve joked.
Ellen: Steve Spangler Ethanol Explosion
Steve told Ellen that ethanol is used in gasoline because it burns so cleanly. He filled several small plastic bottles with ethanol. The bottles had two screws pushed through opposing walls. The screws were positioned such that there was a tiny gap between the ends of them.
Steve gave Ellen a strange wand that looked like a soldering iron. He said it sent a very strong electric current through anything that it touched.
Steve told Ellen to touch the electric wand to one of the screws. The wand sent a current through the screw that was strong enough to create a static charge that jumped the gap between the screws. That charge the lit the ethanol and the lid to the bottle blew off wildly. The whole thing took a second to occur. It was really cool.
Ellen: Steve Spangler Plastic Bottle Rocket
Steve Spangler showed Ellen how to make a rocket out of a plastic bottle. He put a small amount of ethanol into the bottle, so that the ratio of ethanol to oxygen inside of the bottle would be ideal. Then he placed a long lighter in front of the bottle’s opening. As soon as he did, the bottle shot of the table and left a tail of burning ethanol on the table. It was awesome.