The Chemistry of Snow Globes

Introduction

YouTube Video

My project is the chemistry of snow globes.  I chose to do snow globes because it seemed like something simple to do and I wondered what kind of chemistry was used to make them.  A surprising amount of chemistry is involved in the creation of snow globes.  There is chemistry involved in creating the ceramic base and the ceramic figurine inside, chemistry in the glass dome that holds everything in, and especially chemistry involved in the beautiful flakes that cascade down.  It is very interesting learning how something as simple as snow globes can so involved with so much chemistry and parts.  This project has affected my life by looking at everything around me awe at how we have created so many things through such difficult processes and we kind take them for granted.

Composition of ...
  • ceramic base-carbides and many other materials

  • water-H2O

  • snowflakes-bone chips, pieces of porcelain, sand, or even sawdust, now gold flakes or mainly benzoic acid (C7H6O)



Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components


1.Ceramics-base, figure

  • ceramics are generally only two types- traditional and advanced
  • traditional- made from clay and cements that have been hardened at high temps
  • advanced includes carbides- SiC; oxides-aluminum oxide Al2O3; nitride- Si3N4; and many other materials
  • some ceramics are only composed of two elements- for example,  alumina-aluminum oxide, Al2O3; zirconia-zirconium oxide, ZRO2
  • Ceramics are good insulators and can withstand high temps
  • chemical bonds in ceramics can be covalent, ionic, or polar covalent
  • Metal + nonmetal= bonding primarily ionic; metalloid+nonmetal= bonding primarily covalent
  • most ceramics have a highly crystalline structure- three dimensional unit- unit cell, is repeated
  • ceramics are created from natural materials like clay that have hardened by heating at high temperatures- driving out water- and allowing strong chemical bonds to form
  • clay is tiny flat plates stacked together but separated by thin layers of water
  • water keeps plates together, while lubricating them
  • binders such as bone ash are sometimes added to promote strong bond formation

2.Snowflakes-benzoic acid

  • Benzoic acids chemical formula is C7h6O2 or C6H5COOH.
  • Structure of Benzoic acid is made up of a benzene ring- 6 carbons surrounded by other atoms
  • the structure makes it an aromatic carboxylic acid
  • It is aromatic because it has a benzene ring in its chemical structure, with alternating double bonds between each carbon
  • it is classified as a carboxylic acid because it has a carboxyl group in its structure- COOH
  • benzoic acid forms nice looking snowflakes in cool water- the acid doesn’t dissolve
  • benzoic acid falls slowly in liquid


Chemistry's Role

Benzoic Acid

  • a natural source of benzoic acid is gum benzoin from certain tree barks
  • Benzoic acid can be made chemically by partial oxidation of toluene and oxygen, catalyzed by cobalt or manganese naphthenates

  Ceramics

  • ceramics are generally only two types- traditional and advanced
  • traditional- made from clay and cements that have been hardened at high temps
  • advanced includes carbides- SiC; oxides-aluminum oxide Al2O3; nitride- Si3N4; and many other materials
  • some ceramics are only composed of two elements- for example,  alumina-aluminum oxide, Al2O3; zirconia-zirconium oxide, ZRO2
  • chemical bonds in ceramics can be covalent, ionic, or polar covalent
  • Metal + nonmetal= bonding primarily ionic; metalloid+nonmetal= bonding primarily covalent
  • most ceramics have a highly crystalline structure- three dimensional unit- unit cell, is repeated
  • ceramics are created from natural materials like clay that have hardened by heating at high temperatures- driving out water- and allowing strong chemical bonds to form
  • clay is tiny flat plates stacked together but separated by thin layers of water
  • water keeps plates together, while lubricating them
  • binders such as bone ash are sometimes added to promote strong bond formation

Background Research

http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryhowtoguide/a/snowglobe.htm


Chemistry of Snow Globes  

  • snow globe makeup- benzoic acid + water + globe +base

  • how to make snow- heat up the water to dissolve the benzoic acid, but don’t boil

  • benzoic acid doesn’t readily dissolve in water at room temp.  but dissolves in heated water like rock candy that is produced through sugar combined with water

  • cooling down the solution quickly produces snow balls rather than snowflakes

  • actual snow works in the same way with how fast the water turns into ice affecting the shape and size of the flakes

  • benzoic acid is C7H6O -http://chemistry.about.com/od/factsstructures/ig/Chemical-Structures---B/Benzoic-Acid.htm

                                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass


Glass globe

  • Most glass is made of “soda lime glass” and it makes up 90%

  • Soda lime glass

  • Glass starts out being made with silica (sio2), fused quartz is chemically pure silica glass

  • Fused quartz has a very melting temp.  1723C and a hard to work with viscosity

  • Most glass has added substances to simplify the process

  • sodium carbonate is added to lower the melting temp Na2Co3

  • “lime” calcium carbonate (CaO) is added to make the glass not water soluble

  • magnesium (MgO) and aluminum oxide (Al2O3) are added


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_globe



Typical snow globe makeup:

  • snow globes began with lead glass domes that were placed over a ceramic figure or tableau on a black cast ceramic base, filled with water and sealed

  • The snow was made with bone chips, pieces of porcelain, sand, or even sawdust

  • In the future the glass became thinner and they started making the bases lighter (bakelite was popular during the art deco period).

  • Also the snow became particles of gold foil or non-soluble snowflake


http://classroom.synonym.com/chemical-properties-benzoic-acid-2721.html

  • Benzoic acid chemical formula is C7H6O2

  • Chemical properties based on the fact that its molecule is made up of an acidic carboxyl group attached to an aromatic ring

  • COOH - a single carboxyl group is attached to a carbon atom of a benzene ring

  • Benzene ring- C6H6 aromatic ring of six carbon atoms, with a hydrogen atom attached to each carbon atom

  • benzoic acid- the COOH group replaces one of the H atoms on the aromatic ring

  • C7H602-C6H5COOH

Salt Formation

  • carboxyl group reacts with a base to form a salt  such as with sodium hydroxide benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are used as food preservatives

Production of Esters

  • reacts with alcohols to produce esters

  • some esters are plasticizers

Production of an Acid Halide

  • benzoic acid reacts with phosphorus pentachloride or thionyl chloride to form benzoyl chloride- highly reactive and used to form other products

Sulfonation

  • reaction with a fuming sulfuric acid (H2SO4) leads to sulfonation of the aromatic ring

  • SO3H group replaces a hydrogen atom on the aromatic ring

  • result is mostly meta-sulfobenzoic acid (SO3H-C6H4-COOH)

Nitration

Halogenation

http://chem.answers.com/compounds/http://classroom.synonym.com/chemical-properties-benzoic-acid-2721.html

  • extracted from resins mostly gum Benzoin

  • It occurs in fruits like cranberries and prunes and cinnamon

  • preservative to many foods


Resources

http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryhowtoguide/a/snowglobe.htm

Parts of snow globe

Benzoic acid was listed as snowflakes

http://chemistry.about.com/od/factsstructures/ig/Chemical-Structures---B/Benzoic-Acid.htm

chemical structure of benzoic acid

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass

production and chemistry of glass

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_globe


parts and history of snow globes

http://classroom.synonym.com/chemical-properties-benzoic-acid-2721.html


listed properties of benzoic acid

http://chem.answers.com/compounds/http://classroom.synonym.com/chemical-properties-benzoic-acid-2721.html

http://www.chemistryexplained.com/Bo-Ce/Ceramics.html


listed chemistry involved in the making of ceramics


http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Benzoic_acid


listed more about the chemistry involved in benzoic acid


http://study.com/academy/lesson/benzoic-acid-structure-formula-uses.html


listed more about the chemistry involved in benzoic acid creation- structure, natural creation,


About the Author

Shane Wilkinson is a Junior at Billings Senior High School.  He enjoys learning about how chemistry affects plays a role in daily and will attend college in Bozeman.  He plans on going to college for a degree in graphic design and will go to college for many years. He has a good gpa, gets good grades, and is a good person in general.  He hopes to have a good life by applying himself and being a good person to all the people that he meets.
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