Magic Jug

One solution is poured into six different glasses and they become different colors

Scientific name: Solution of NH4Fe(SO4)2*12H2O reacts with SCN-, Ba2+, [Fe(CN)6]3-, HSO3- ions, tannic and tartaric acid


Magic Jug - Periodic Table of Videos

by Periodic Videos


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Reaction formula

Fe3+ + SCN- → [Fe(SCN)]2+

Ba2+ + SO42- → BaSO4

Fe3+ + [Fe(CN)6]3- → Fe[Fe(CN)6]

Fe3+ + C76H52O46 (tannic acid) → Ferrum tanates

Fe3+ + C4H6O6 (tartaric acid) → Fe2(C4H4O6)3

Fe3+ + 3HSO3- → Fe(HSO3)3

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Prepare six glasses containing a small amount of six solutions: potassium thiocyanate, barium chloride, potassium ferricyanide, tannic acid, tartaric acid and sodium bisulfite.
  2. Prepare a solution of ammonium iron(III) sulfate in a jug.
  3. Pour the solution from the jug into the glasses.

Scientific background

The solution of ammonium iron(III) sulfate contains Fe3+ and SO42- ions. There are thiocyanate, barium, ferricyanide, sulfide ions, tannic and tartaric acids in the glasses.

Potassium thiocyanate reacts with Fe3+ ions and forms a dark-red colored solution, which contains [Fe(SCN)]2+ ions.

Barium and sulfate ions form the crumbly barium sulfate precipitate. The final solution looks dense and light-yellow colored.

Potassium ferricyanide with Fe3+ ions forms a red colored complex Fe[Fe(CN)6] solution.

Tannic acid is a big molecule with many OH-groups and it coordinates with Fe3+. The deep -blue colored solution looks like ink.

Tartaric acid coordinates with Fe3+ ions and forms a yellow complex.

HSO3- ions are produced from sodium bisulfite and a red solution of iron(III) hydrogen sulfite solution is formed.


Published on 01 February 2015

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