The Beautiful Display From Zinc Oxide in Methanol When zinc oxide (ZnO) is added to burning methanol, we see blue emissions along with sparks and beautiful flashes of red and green. Why? One student had found it so incredulous that they thought our ZnO was contaminated with other substances. It's unlikely, but you could check the hypothesis by using another source of... Continue Reading →

Diaper Rash Ointment Eliminates Need for Recreational Drugs

Colored flame tricks that make use of methanol and various metal ions are old hat--and a source of in-class accidents---but one does not often see the use of zinc oxide, which is the main ingredient of Ihle's paste, some foot powders and many diaper rash ointments. The electron transitions of zinc ion are very sensitive... Continue Reading →

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