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Strem Chemists Demonstrate Chemical and Physical Changes to Local Newburyport Students

Students Get Hands-On Experience with the Exciting Experiments Presented

A group of Strem Chemicals chemists, including Mr. David Geissler, Dr. Kyle Mandla, and Dr. Mostafa Baghbanzadeh, visited River Valley Charter School for two days earlier this month. The goal of this visit was to demonstrate a few chemical transformations and talk with young students about science and more specifically chemistry.

The main theme of experiments was to explore physical changes versus chemical changes.  To cover this topic the following three experiments were designed and performed for each class.

Illustration of Chemical Change:

Synthesis of Nylon 6,10 using Sebacoyl Chloride and Hexamethylenediamine as starting materials.  In this experiment the students observed the creation of a nylon strand through the combination of the two starting materials.

Dave Geissler (Strem) and student extracting the nylon strand.

Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, also known as “elephant toothpaste” experiment.  This involved hydrogen peroxide, yeast, dish soap and warm water.  The foam pictured in the photo below was created when the yeast acted as a catalyst to remove the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide. Since it did this very fast, it created bubbles which look like toothpaste being squeezed out of the container. 

Dave Geissler, Mostafa Baghbanzadeh and students reacting to this exciting chemical reaction


Illustration of Physical Change:

Freezing roses in liquid nitrogen.  This experiment demonstrates the physical change that occurs when a rose is dipped in liquid nitrogen.  The rose becomes completely frozen in seconds and can be smashed to pieces on the floor. 

Student and Dave Geissler freezing and breaking roses


After a brief introduction by Strem chemists about each experiment, students could observe the demonstration and then with the help of chemists they could run an experiment by themselves. At the end of each experiment, students had a chance to discuss their observations and also ask questions. Finally, each class ended with a 5-10 minutes general discussion about the life of a chemist and scientist. 

Dr. Kyle Mandla and River Valley students’ discussing their observations of the experiments

These experiments are just a few in a long line of community outreach programs that our chemists facilitate.  Being able to experience science and chemistry in this hands-on way is a great benefit to our local students.  Our chemists love seeing the students’ reactions and we thank the River Valley Charter School for this opportunity.  We hope they enjoyed it as much as us and look forward to many future experiments in our local schools!


005David Geissler, Dr. Kyle Mandla, and Dr. Mostafa Baghbanzadeh
with the River Valley Charter School class



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