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.

Request a model by sending an email to


  • 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.

Request a multimedia by sending an email to


Request a demonstration by sending an email to Some of the demonstrations are available on the Microsoft Word or PDF downloads.

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

Electrolysis of Water 3

A hand-held voltage generator is used to convert mechanical energy ito electrical energy to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen gases.


Floating Pin on Water

A small metal pin is floated on the surface of water, and then sinks when detergent is added due to the decrease in surface tension.


Franklin Flask

Water boiling point is lowered at reduced pressure.  The Franklin Flask is a seal vessel with a bowl on the underside into which you put ice to condense out water vapor in the container, lowering the pressure so that the vapor pressure exceeds the internal pressure, even down to 30°C or 40°C.


Fulminate vs Cyanate Stability

Silver fulminate and silver cyanate are heated with a candle flame to demonstrate the instability of the fulminate ion, which explodes loudly.  This shows the ability of formal charges to predict structural stability since the formal charges of the fulminate ion are higher than those of the cyanate ion.


Heat of Combustion of Alkane vs Alcohol

For a particular number of carbon atoms, the reaction enthalpy is more exothermic for an alkane than for an alcohol.  In this demo, equal moles of methane and methanol are combusted in a cylinder to launch a foam ball up into the air.  The height of the launch shows that the gas expands to a greater degree (more exothermic) for the methane.


Demonstration Recipes


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