Chemical Kim: The science behind mood rings

Chemical Kim

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's the science behind what makes your mood ring change colors -- we're talking about thermochromism!

Chemical Kim joined My West Michigan with more on how you can find it in many things -- not just mood rings. 
She also shares how you can apply it your own arts and crafts. 

Thermo means heat and chromic means color. Thermochromic materials are all around us, in our televisions, jewelry, make up, kitchen dishes, first aid kits, and so much more!

Explore:

Find materials that are thermochromic: mood rings, temperature strips, mugs, baby spoons, liquid crystal, nail polish, bath toys, etc. Using a thermometer, check temperature changes when the color changes occur to these materials. You could even chart and graph your results.

Try this:

Make your own thermochromic mug:

Using either color changing nail polish or thermochromic dye (color changing pigment), apply to a ceramic coffee mug. Allow to dry. Now add your hot or cold drink and see the magic… or is it science?

Explanation:

There are two common thermochromic materials: liquid crystal and dyes.

With liquid crystal (such at medical thermometers or even the liquid crystal displays) the crystalline structure of the material will change orientation when either heated or cooled. This change in the crystalline orientation causes a change in how light passes through these crystals. This change, changes the reflection of light and so we see a change in the color.

The thermochromic dyes are a play on the pH (acidity) of the compounds. These dyes contain salts that melt at specific temperatures. When these salts melt, the pH changes (usually lowers), causing a change in other compounds that make up the dye. These changes cause the compounds to absorb different light and so we see a change of color to the material.

Chemical Kim would like to thank Educational Innovations for providing the thermochromic materials for this science segment. You can find other fun and educational science materials on their website www.teachersource.com.

You can learn more about Chemical Kim on her website, chemicalkim.com.

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