When a colormuch less liquid is poured right into 6 beakers, the liquid in each beaker turns a different shade of the rainbow. The colors disappear and reshow up as soon as various other colorless liquids are added to the beakers. The colored solution beakers are then blended in a huge container bring about the colors disappearing as soon as aget.

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A variety of goals are satisfied with this presentation, consisting of a) demonstrating color transforms of solutions due to alters in pH of the solutions, b) demonstrating the reversibility of indicator shade alters, c) providing an development to acid/base chemistry, d) getting students to think about how acids and also bases interact, and also e) providing an development to traditional indications.

Explanation of Experiment:

This demonstration reflects that a mixture of indications can produce a shade readjust different from that obtained with the individual indications, resulting in the colors of the rainbow appearing and disappearing. The three signs provided are all colorless in acidic solution, but each produces a various color in standard solution. Because these colors are cshed to the 3 major colors, virtually any type of shade of the rainbow can be developed by some combicountry of these indicators in fundamental solution. The indicator remedies provided are very concentrated, more concentrated than traditional indicator remedies, producing intense solution colors.

At the start, each beaker includes one of the six rainbow color indicator solutions together with the acid/alcohol mixture. Because the contents of the beakers are acidic, the indicators are colormuch less. The initial addition of sodium hydroxide solution is not enough to neutralize the acid current, and the indications remain colormuch less. With the second addition of NaOH solution, an excess of base outcomes, the services come to be alkaline, and also the indications become colored. Then numerous drops of viscous acid solution are added to each beaker. The thick droplets sink and also are then dispersed by stirring, neutralizing the base and converting the indicator to its colormuch less create. Adding even more base to each beaker causes the colors to reshow up. Then the contents of the beakers are poured right into the huge glass container wright here a few drops of viscous acid solution have actually been formerly put, resulting in the resulting solution to come to be acidic and also converting the indicator earlier to its colorless develop.

Materials Preparation:

Materials Required:

light background such as white table covertowel600 mL Berzelius, tall develop beakers (6)30 mL beakerLarge glass container12" stirring rod2 L pitchers (2 identical, non-transparent)dropping bottles (9)Kermit the Frog (optional)


phenolphthaleinthymolphthaleinp-nitrophenolsodium hydroxidefocused sulfuric acidglycerin95 % ethanol


RED: 1.5 g phenolphthalein + 3.0 g p-nitrophenolORANGE: 0.45 g phenolphthalein + 6.0 g p-nitrophenolYELLOW: 6.0 g p-nitrophenolGREEN: 0.6 g thymolphthalein + 6.0 g p-nitrophenolBLUE: 1.5 g thymolphthaleinVIOLET: 0.9 g phenolphthalein + 0.4 g thymolphthalein

Mix the quantities listed above with 30 mL 95 % ethanol and save in dropping bottles labeled through the color shown.

Acid-alcohol solution (0.05 M H2SO4 combined through an equal volume of 95% ethanol):

Dilute 2.8 mL of concentrated H2SO4 to 1 L through deionized water. Mix with an equal volume (1 L) of 95% ethanol.

H2SO4-glycerin solution:

Dilute 10 mL of focused H2SO4 in 20 mL of glycerin, and also move to a dropping bottle

Base solution (0.012 M NaOH):

Mix 1.00 g of NaOH via distilled water, dilute to 2.0 L, and also carry to a plastic pitcher.

Pre-demonstration Preparation:

Label the beakers via their color, and location five drops of indicator solution of that color in the facility of each beaker. Set them on the light background in rainbow order (ROYGBV) from left to best.Place a premeasured amount of acid/alcohol mixture (ca. 40 mL) in a little plastic bottle and also location these in ago of each of the beakers.Label one pitcher as base, and also fill entirely with base solution. Set it on the floor behind the lab bench out of view of the audience.Add 25 drops of H2SO4- glycerin solution in the center of the large glass container and also set it to the left of the beakers.Set the stirring rod, towel, and also dropper bottle of H2SO4-glycerin behind the plan of beakers and to the left.Set Kermit on the front of the table to one side so that the audience watch will not be obstructed.If the indicator services dry on the bottom of the beakers, they will certainly appear cloudy. Add a few drops of 95 % ethanol if this happens to keep them "invisible" on the bottom.


Banjo strumming

Clean beakers through towel. Tright here is enough time to execute 3 of them.

Why are there so many kind of songs about rainbows,And what’s on the various other side?Rainbows are visions, yet only illusions,And rainbows have actually nopoint to hide.

Pour acid alcohol mixtures into the beakers (ca. 40 mL). Be done by the end of the verse.

So we’ve been told, and some pick to think it,I recognize they’re wrong; wait and also see.

Observe that tright here is no rainbow. Pick up the base pitcher.

Someday we’ll discover it, the rainbow connection;The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

After looking at the (base) pitcher in wonder, pour about 70 mL of solution right into each glass. This is not enough to build the colors.

Who sassist that ev’ry wish would certainly be heard and answeredWhen wiburned on the morning star?Somebody assumed of that, and someone thought it;Look what it’s done so much.What’s so exceptional that keeps us star-gazingAnd what carry out we think we might see?Someday we’ll discover it, the rainbow link,The lovers, the dreamers, and also me.

Starting through red, pour in sequence the colors of the rainbow. Into each beaker pour in enough base to develop the shade (around 150 mL), and also display screen the colored options to the audience. Start through the word "Who" and finish via "me." When finiburned take a bow!

All of us under its spell;We recognize that it’s most likely magic.

Present out the dropping bottle of H2SO4-glycerin to the audience.

Have you been fifty percent asleep and have actually you heard voices?I’ve heard them calling my name.

Add two drops of H2SO4- glycerin to each beaker. Finish by "my name."

Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?The voice can be one and also the exact same.I’ve heard it too many kind of times to ignore it.

Present out the stirrer and stir out the colors of the rainbow in sequence. Finish by "ignore it." Present out the colorless beakers and also take a bow.

It’s somepoint that I’m poised to be.Someday we’ll discover it, the rainbow connection;The lovers, the dreamers, and also me.

Pick up the base pitcher and easily redevelop the colors in all of the beakers, aacquire in rainbow sequence. You will certainly add around 100 mL of base to each beaker.


As the song ends, rerelocate the center two beakers (yellow and green) from the variety. Relocation them through the big glass container. Pour the contents of the beakers into the huge glass container, two at a time, putting the last two (red and also violet) as the song fades.

Hazards: The acid alcohol solution is flammable. Keep the container closed. Avoid flames or sparks. The acid (glycerin and acid alcohol) and also base remedies have the right to reason burns. Wear security glasses. If you spill these remedies on yourself, wash it off automatically.

Disposal: The last solution may be disposed of down the drain.

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General Concept:

Acids and also Bases

Type of Reaction:

Acid Base

Primary Reference:

Creighton College Rainbow Connection Chemisattempt video.

Secondary Reference:

Shakhashiri, B.Z. 1983, Chemical Demonstrations – A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, vol. 3 pp. 41-46.