NUSSP Fall 2015 Callback

On Saturday, November 21st the Northeastern chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) hosted the fall 2015 Summer STEM Program (NUSSP) callback. The day started with a get to know you session, so the students, who have attended one of the two previous summers, could get to know each other. Then, Northeastern’s chapter of Nu Epsilon Zeta presented a $5000 check to the Center for STEM Education for the Summer STEM Program. Thank you!!

Six rotating stations were set up, each manned by 2 AIChE volunteers, where students learned about different chemistry concepts. A special thanks to Jenna Bilsback for coordinating and organizing AIChE’s involvement in this callback.

At the Bernoulli bag station, students attempted to inflate bags entirely with their lungs. After realizing this wasn’t optimal, they learned about Bernoulli’s principle and how, if they move their head away from the bag’s opening, they can fully inflate the bag in one breath.

Students learned about laminar and turbulent flow, then saw a demonstration of laminar flow in corn syrup. A good video of this demonstration can be found here.

At another station, students learned about dry ice and how to create bubbles with it. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide (CO2), which is extremely cold. However, unlike frozen water, it doesn’t make a mess when it melts, turning into a gas rather than a puddle. Students learned the practical uses of dry ice, such as mailing samples at low temperatures, and the fun uses of dry ice, like skimming the dry ice across the surface of tables (similar to how cars hydroplane across water on rainy days).

At another station, using soap and the knowledge of where to stick the skewer (on the strongest part of the balloon), students were able to pierce balloons with wooden skewers. The record; 5 skewers in one balloon without it bursting.

Students solved the crime of the kidnapped dog at another station. Using chromatography, students were able to determine which pen was used to write the ransom note. Black pens appear to be composed entirely of black ink, but when allowed to soak in water and creep up a paper towel, the true colors of the pen ink are revealed. Comparing the colors created by the different types of black pens, the suspect was identified.

At the last station, Oobleck was created. The Oobleck, whose name comes from Dr. Seuss’ book “Bartholomew and the Oobleck,” is a great example of a non-Newtonian fluid. In non-Newtonian fluids, the viscosity (how easily the fluid flows) changes depending on how you interact with the fluid. In Oobleck’s case, it is a solid when you apply pressure, but by itself is a liquid. A demonstration of walking on Oobleck can be seen here. Other examples of non-Newtonian fluids are ketchup, yogurt, toothpaste, blood, quicksand, and lava.

The day concluded with a paper catapults building session, led by Center for STEM Education volunteers and staff.

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