How to Make a Storm Glass

Storm glass changes its state according to the weather next day.

Scientific name: Differences in pressure and temperature affect the solubility of components.

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Safety

Wear eye protection goggles and gloves.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Prepare 40 ml of ethanol and 33 ml of distilled water.
  2. Weigh 2.5 grams of potassium nitrate, 2.5 grams of ammonium chloride and 10 grams of camphor.
  3. Prepare two solutions. To prepare the first solution, dissolve camphor in ethanol. Some heating is required to dissolve camphor. The best conditions for dissolving camphor are achieved when heating is carried simultaneously with stirring. Place the beaker with ethanol and camphor on a magnetic stirrer with heating function. Drop the anchor into the solution. Heat and stir the solution until all the substance dissolves.
  4. The second solution consists of water and dissolved potassium nitrate and ammonium chloride.
  5. Mix together the prepared solutions. Add the second solution to the first one continuing to stir.
  6. The precipitate is formed. Heat the solution to get rid of it.
  7. When the solution clears up, turn off stirring and heating. Pour the solution into the large test-tube.
  8. Wait until the solution cools down and seal it with a stopper.
  9. Use some tape to hermetically close the test tube.
  10. By looking for the presence and form of the precipitate you will be able to predict tomorrow’s weather.

Scientific background

Storm glass is a device used to predict the weather. Differences in temperature and pressure cause the formation of different types of crystals and precipitates. If the weather will be bright and clear no crystals or precipitate is observed. In this case the solution is clear. Cloudy solution means cloudy weather possibly with rain. The presence of crystals indicates different types of weather. Small dots point foggy weather. In winter one can expect snowfall if there are stars-like crystals or flakes in the liquid. Star-like crystals together with a cloudy solution indicate thunderstorm. Crystals at the bottom of the vessel are the sign of frost coming. Threads at the top indicate a windy day.

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Published on 10 June 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst