Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Crisp Packet Fireworks (or a cola volcano)

Such a lovely little book I have from the library for today's explosion. 'Crisp Packet Fireworks- or Maverick Science to try at home' is by Naked Scientists Chris Smith and Dave Ansell (there's no photo of them sadly or perhaps thankfully)(I'm not sure they mean that sort of naked anyway) and is a small volume packed full of ever so slightly dangerous FUN with properly explained science and application of said fun too.
 I've recently become a shameless pilferer of other people's science experiments on Pinterest in the cause of rainy day entertainment and now have a cupboard full of microwaveable soap, food colouring and corn flour etc. But this book has tons more ideas, all in one place, and all with a bit of Good Science attached. Hurray!

But...but...but... Despite being published only in 2008- it appears to have gone out of print. Nooooo! Don't you hate it when that happens to Nice Books? I would normally now not review it- but I'm sticking with it because a. It's in my library- so hopefully will be in yours and b. It DOES appear to still be in print in the US on Amazon where it's called 'Spectacular Science- Exciting experiments to try at home' instead and c. we all really wanted to make a Cola Volcano for today's explosion. I hope you'll forgive us.

Each experiment in the book starts with clear instructions and a photo of what to expect, then explains in some detail why it works and then gives some application to the real world.
This is the photo which drew us in to choosing to try a volcano:


All we needed was a bottle of coke and a packet of polo mints threaded onto a straw to drop in at speed and we were away.
 The Scientist in Action

extreme distrust from Jones the cat. 'Can I drink the coke now mum?' 'No, we're all still recovering from yesterday's popping candy Od-ing'

Then Muggins here (don't you love the term 'Muggins here') thought we'd go one step further, having read the explanation and try and recreate the St. Helen's effect by putting the lid back on with a small hole drilled for added oomph with the second bottle- as seen here.

'You take the photos this time Bill- I'll add the mints' 'Okay Mum.'
Aaaagh! As it turns out it's really hard to screw a lid back on an already exploding bottle spurting coke everywhere. And holding your hand over the top to try and salvage the situation sort of makes it worse. And 'Sorry Mum, I was laughing and forgot to take any pictures'...
I'm not sure if you can appreciate from that photo just how coke spattered I am.
My scalp is now itchy from sugar- off to the shower.

Maybe no more sugar based explosions this week.
'Crisp Packet Fireworks' by Chris Smith and Dave Ansell, see if you can track down a copy- maybe not as flashy to look at as some other home science books but really full of cracking ideas for making boys laugh at their mothers.
pub New Holland isbn 978-1-84537-981-0


  1. Eruptamazing!

    Not sure if you know about the Horrible Science books http://www.horrible-science.co.uk. If I'd had books like that I'd have been an astroauthorphysicist.

    1. I know about them but haven't got any -yet. Am a big fan of that 'franchise' though- Bill full of Horrible History Factoids (although most do seem to relate to poo...).

  2. Looks like a blast! You need a pinterest badge so I can keep up with your ideas over there too! :-)

    1. I had one and then felt a bit badged out and wasn't sure anyone would really be that interested in my pilfered meatloaf recipes. You can find me there at pollylwh (I think) I am quite pleased with my 'The Real...' board which features 'real' counterparts of children's classics.

    2. Going to look you up...

  3. This sounds like so much fun! Will have to look for mints here though to recreate.

  4. any good strongish mints will do...the key is to drop them all in at once though- so polos are great because they have a threadable hole. Otherwise they suggest making a tube funnel with rolled up paper to slide them in.

  5. In case anyone is still interested, this has been republished as Boom!
    For reasons unfathomable the publishers wanted to change the name.