More EL chemistry: Luminescent ink

[Jeri Ellsworth] continues her experiments with electroluminescence, this time she’s making EL ink. The ink she’s looking for is Zinc Sulfate in a solution. The process she chose is to re-dope some glow powder so that it can be excited by the field around an AC current. In her video (embedded after the break) she talks about the chemical properties she’s after by detailing a cubic lattice of zinc and sulfur atoms with an added copper atom (adding that atom is a process called doping).

The quick and dirty synopsis of the experiment starts by washing the glow powder with dish soap to acquire zinc sulfide crystals. Then she combined copper sulfate and zinc shavings from the inside of a modern penny to yield copper metal and zinc sulfate suspended in solution. That was mixed with the zinc sulfide from the glow powder washing and doped with a little more copper sulfate. The excess liquid is poured off, the test tube is capped with glass frit, and the whole thing hits the kiln to start the reaction. The result glows when excited by alternating current, but could have been improved by adding chlorine atoms into the mix.

We’re excited every time we see one of [Jeri's] new chemistry hacks. We’d love to see more so if you’ve come across interesting chemistry experiments during your Internet travels, please let us know about them. Just make sure you have some idea of what you’re doing when working with chemicals… safety first.

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Desulfator in an altoids tin

desulfator

If you’ve ever let a car sit for a period of time and returned to find that the battery was mysteriously “dead”, you were probably experiencing a sulfate crystal build up. Often, people just buy a new battery and plop it in, but that isn’t absolutely necessary. [Kmpres] takes us through the process of building a desulfator. A desulfator works by putting high voltage pulses into the battery forcing the sulfate crystals to dissolve back into the electrolyte. From what [Kmpres] says, you can find “bad” batteries in all kinds of places, use the desulfator on them and have perfectly fine batteries when you’re done. You may recall doing something similar with a disposable camera.

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