10A10.10 - Ammonium Dichromate Volcano

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Ammonium Dichromate Volcano
Oxidation - Reduction
Area of Study:
Chemistry, Electricity
Ammonium Dichromate, Thermal Insulating Plate, Aluminum Plates, Matches, Bunsen Burner, Insulated Gloves, Furnace Filter Material, Aluminum Base Plate, 8 Inch Plexiglas Tube or Large Plexiglas Box, Mesh Screen with Furnace Filter, and Video Camera.

Directions for the Ammonium Dichromate Volcano can be found in the files or the hardcopy 10A10.10 entry.

The reaction is:
(NH4)2 Cr2O7----------> N2(gas) + Cr2O3 + 4H2O
           +6                                       +3

The reaction produces a large amount of water which will condense onto the sides of the Plexiglas box.  You can alleviate this somewhat by applying an anti-fog preparation to the insides of the box.  Even then, you will need to keep the camera very close to the bottom of the box when projecting this to the class so that you can get a clear view up until the final moments of the demo.  Also, the best viewing will take place when you keep the pile of Ammonium Dichromate to approximately 3 inches in diameter at the base.  More than that and the water will fog the box too quickly for good viewing.  

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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.