Joe Franek Department of Chemistry Lecture Demonstration director
Lecture Demonstration Director Joe Franek (Photo credit: Patrick O'Leary)


The Lecture Demonstration Facility provides instructors with resources that will enable them to illustrate chemical principles behind their lecture materials and, in so doing, hopefully engender a greater understanding of those principles.

Joe Franek is the Department of Chemistry's lecture demonstration director.
(612) 624-8540


We have a variety of models available, including:

  • permanent models of metal atom packing, salts, organic and inorganic compounds; and
  • numerous model kits to build simple compounds in class.


  • Videotapes
    • Illustrating a number of demonstrations, subjects and laboratory techniques.
  • Computer Interface
    • Allows the measurement and screen projection of pH, temperature and pressure.
  • Visualizer
    • Allows small items or demonstrations to be screen projected for viewing by large classes.


Some of the demonstrations are available Demonstrations (docx) or Demonstrations (PDF).

Basic concepts—Density Cocktail, Metric Measuring Devices, Separation of Sand, Iron and Salt, Conservation of Mass, Does Air Have Mass?

Compounds and elements—Electrolysis of Water, Allotropic forms of Sulfur, Preparation of Iron sulfide, Combustion of Phosphorous, Preparation of Oxygen, Properties of Hydrogen, Products of Candle Combustion, Ozone preparation and Properties, and Properties of NO and NO2

Thermodynamics—Ammonium Dichromate Volcano, Thermite Reaction, Heat of Combustion of Zirconium, Spontaneous Endothermic Reaction, Temperature Dependence of Silver Oxide Formation, Endothermic reaction of sodium bicarbonate with hydrochloric acid, Dust Explosion, Heat of Solution of Sulfuric Acid, Endothermic Dissolution, Exothermic Dissolution, Dehydration of Sugar, Stirling Engine, HCl Cannon, Reaction of Magnesium with Dry Ice, Methanol Cannon, Methanol "Whoosh" Bottle, Methanol Rockets, and Sugar Dehydration Without Sulfuric Acid

Gases—Knipp's Mercury Vapor Tube, Graham's Law of Diffusion NH3 and HCl, Graham's Law of Effusion H2 Through A Porous Cup, Graham's Law of Effusion: Gases and Balloons, The Collapsing Can, Kinetic Molecular Theory of Gases Simulator, Boyle's and Charles' Laws, Nitric Acid Acts Upon Copper, Floating an Aluminum Foil Boat on Sulfur Hexafluoride, Automobile Airbag, Hero's Engine

Electrons and atoms—Vacuum Discharge Tubes, Magnetic Susceptibility. Light Emission of Metals. Gas Discharge Tubes, Spectrum of Hydrogen Discharge Tube, Wilson Cloud Chamber, Magnetic Properties of Liquid Oxygen

Ions and molecules—Extraction, Light Scattering of Solutions Versus Non-Solutions, Tyndall Effect (blue sky-red sunset), Conductivity of Molten KClO3, Conductivity of Elements and Compounds, Glass Conductivity, Water Molecules, Sugar Polarimetry, Brownian Motion of Smoke Particles

Liquids and solids—Reduced Temperature Boiling with Franklin Flask, Vapor Pressure Measurements, Surface Tension and Detergents, Carbon Dioxide's Critical Point, Liquification of Carbon Dioxide, Diffusion in a Liquid: KMnO4 in Water

Solutions and salts—Supersaturation and Heat of Solution, Precipitation of CaCO3 with CO2 (g), Hydration-Dehydration of Co2+, The HCl Fountain, The Ammonia Fountain, Osmotic Pressure, Common Ion Effect, Solubility of KClO3 Versus Temperature, Chemical Equilibrium and Le Chatelier's Principle, Boiling Point Elevation of NaCl Solution, Freezing Point Depression of NaCl Solution, Beer's Law

Acids, bases and buffers—Reaction of Water with Metal Oxides, pH of Strong and Weak Acids and Bases, Alka-Seltzer Buffer, Electrical Conductivity of Strong Versus Weak Acids and Bases, Voice-Activated Disappearing Color, Red Cabbage Acid-Base Indicator, Nitric Acid Acts Upon Copper

Electrochemistry—Electrolysis of Water, Electrolysis of Hydrochloric Acid Solution (HCl Cannon), Hydrogen-Oxygen Fuel Cell, Galvanic Cell: Standard Cell Potentials, Electroplating, Spontaneous Plating of Copper Onto Iron, Spontaneous Plating of Silver Onto Copper, Weakening of an Aluminum Can Via Reaction with Cu(II), Iron Corrosion, Nitric Acid Acts Upon Copper

Kinetics—Dust Explosion, Photochemical Reaction: Silver Chloride Plus Light, Effect of Concentration on Reaction Rate, Assorted Metals Reacting with HCl, Reaction of Hydrogen and Oxygen, Clock Reaction, Oscillating Reaction, Catalysis such as Platinum and Ammonia, Copper and Acetone, Hydrogen and Platinum, Hydrogen Peroxide and Manganese Dioxide, Hydrogen Peroxide and Iodide, Hydrogen Peroxide and Platinum

Equilibrium—Equilibrium between Nitrogen Dioxide and Dinitrogen Tetroxide, Equilibrium Between CrO42- and Cr2O72-

Organic reactions—Addition of Bromine to a Pi Bond, Addition of Chlorine to Acetylene, Primary Secondary and Tertiary Alcohol Identification, Breathalyzer: Ethanol Detector, Synthesis of Esters From Carboxylic Acids, Sugar Dehydration Without Sulfuric Acid, Diels-Alder Reaction, Production and Combustion of Acetylene, Extraction of DNA

Polymers—Nylon Rope Trick, Baklite, Slime, Silly Putty, Super Absorbent Polymer

Light—HCl Cannon, Luminol, Standing Waves, Light Emission of Metals, Gas Discharge Tubes, Spectrum of Hydrogen Discharge Tube, Beer's Law, Blackbody Radiation, Diffraction of Red and Green Laser Pointers

Laboratory techniques—Distillation, Paper Chromatography, Column Chromatography, Liquid-Liquid Extraction, Sublimation, Extraction

Biochemistry—extracting DNA

Sortable Demonstrations

Acid-base Characteristics of Metal and Nonmetal Oxides

Magnesium oxide and phosphorus oxide are prepared by burning the metal and nonmetal in air.  The resulting MgO and P4O10 are then added to aqueous solution containing universal indicator.  The MgO turns the indicator blue while the P4O10 turns the red, demonstrating that metal and nonmetal oxides cause the pH of aqueous solutions to become basic and acidic, respectively.


Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

A pile of ammonium dichromate is burned and decomposes exothermically to produce green chromium(III)oxide in dramatic fashion.


Burning Phosphorus in Air

White phosphorus is burned in air while monitoring the flask pressure.  The decrease in final pressure shows the partial pressure of oxygen in air.


Conservation of Mass

Open and closed combustion reactions are run; mass is lost in the open system but conserved in the closed reaction.


Density Cocktail

A large glass column is prepared with layers of mercury, carbon tetrachloride, water, and oil. There are various objects in the column that float on a given layer depending upon its density.



    • Lecture Demonstration
    • 5 Smith Hall (office); 146 Smith Hall (lab)
    • Joe Franek, Lecture Demonstration Director
    • (612) 624-8540