Chemical reactions often produce dramatic color changes. The color changing chemistry experiments are interesting, visually appealing and illustrate a wide range of chemical processes. These chemical reactions are visible examples of chemical changes in matter. For example, color change experiments can show redox, pH changes, temperature changes, exothermic and endothermic reactions, stoichiometry, and other important concepts. The colors associated with the holidays are popular, such as red-green for Christmas and orange-black for Halloween. There is a colorful reaction for just about any occasion.
Here is a list of color change chemistry experiments, in all colors of the rainbow.
Try the Briggs-Rauscher oscillatory clock reaction
The Briggs-Rauscher reaction changes color from amber to blue.
The oscillating Clock or Briggs-Rauscher reaction changes color from clear to orange to blue. The reaction takes place between colors for a few minutes, eventually becoming blue-black.
Try Briggs-Rauscher’s color change reaction
Fun water in the demonstration of blood or wine
A pH indicator can be used to turn water into wine or blood.
PH indicators are extremely useful for chemical color change reactions. For example, you can use the phenolphthalein indicator to make the water turn into blood or wine and rise back into the water (clear – red – clear).
This simple color change demonstration is perfect for Halloween or Easter.
Turn water into blood or wine
Olympic Rings Color Chemistry
Use chemistry to transform the solutions to the colors of the Olympic rings.
Transition metal complexes produce brightly colored chemical solutions. A beautiful demonstration of the effect is called the Olympic rings. Clear solutions change color to make the symbolic colors of the Olympic Games.
Make Olympic rings with chemistry
Turn water into gold with chemistry
Alchemy can’t really turn water into gold, but it can simulate appearance.
Alchemists try to transform elements and other substances into gold. Modern scientists have accomplished this feat using particle accelerators and nuclear reactions, but the best you can manage in a typical chemistry lab is to spawn a chemical that turns into gold. It’s a fascinating color change reaction.
Turn water into “Liquid Gold”
Water – Wine – Milk – Reaction to change in beer color
The wine and beer simulated by this demonstration of chemistry are neither alcoholic nor good to drink.
Here is a fun color change project in which a solution is poured from a glass of water into a wine glass, goblet and beer glass. The pre-treatment of the glassware causes the change of the solution which seems to go from water to wine through milk and beer. This set of reactions is perfect for a magic show as well as a demonstration of chemistry.
Try the Water – Wine – Milk – Beer Beer demo
Easy to make red cabbage juice pH indicator
These are color changes of red cabbage juice at different pH values. Red (acid, lemon juice), blue (neutral, nothing added), green (basic, soap).
You can use household ingredients to observe the chemistry of the color change. For example, red cabbage juice changes color in response to changes in pH when mixed with other chemicals. No dangerous chemicals are needed, plus you can use the juice to make homemade pH paper, which will change color when used to test household or laboratory chemicals.
- Make the pH indicator of red cabbage
- Make homemade pH paper
- Make a chemical rainbow using cabbage juice
- Use the cabbage juice to make green eggs
Color change of the blue bottle (other colors too)
The color change of the classic blue bottle is clear to blue, but there are many other color variations you can try.
The classic “blue bottle” color change reaction uses methylene blue in a color change reaction from clear to blue and from blue to blue. Other indicators also work, so you can change the colors from red to red (resazurin) or from green to red / yellow to green (indigo carmine).
Try the blue bottle color change demonstration
Rainbow Wand Magic Chemical Reaction – 2 Ways
You can configure the demonstration of the rainbow rod to pass through a single glass tube or through a set of test tubes.
You can use a pH indicator solution to display a rainbow of colors. All you need is the right indicator and either an indicator solution containing a glass tube and a pH gradient or a series of test tubes with different pH values. Two indicators that work well for this color change are the universal indicator and the red cabbage juice.
Make a pH Rainbow Wand
Spooky Old Nassau or Halloween color change reaction
The chemical solution changes from orange to black in the Old Nassau reaction.
Old Nassau’s reaction is popular as a demonstration of Halloween chemistry because the chemical solution changes from orange to black. The traditional form of the demonstration uses mercury chloride, so this reaction is no longer commonly seen as the solution should not be poured down the drain.
Try Old Nassau Reaction
Valentine’s Day Pink Color Change Demonstrations
Pink chemical solutions are ideal for demonstrations of Valentine’s Day chemistry.
Try a demonstration of pink color change chemistry for Valentine’s Day.
The “hot and cold Valentine” is a temperature-dependent color change from pink to colorless and pink. The reaction uses the common indicator phenolphthalein.
The “Vanishing Valentine” uses a resazurin solution which starts in blue. After a few minutes, this solution becomes clear. When the bottle is swirled, the contents turn pink. The liquid becomes colorless again and can be recycled several times through the clear-to-pink cycle.
- Try the hot and cold Valentine’s Day reaction
- Try the Vanishing Valentine Demonstration
Red and green Christmas chemistry Color change reaction
You can use indigo carmine to make a solution that changes color from green to red.
You can use indigo carmine to make a color-changing solution from green to red, making it a great demonstration of Christmas chemistry. In fact, the initial solution is blue, which becomes green and finally red / yellow. The color of the solution can be cycled between green and red.
Try the Christmas color change reaction
Chemical reactions of colored flames to try
Chemical reactions can change the color of the flames.
Color change chemistry is not limited to chemical solutions. Chemical reactions also produce interesting colors in the flames. Colored fire bombs may be the most popular, when a person sprays a solution to a flame, changing its color. Many other interesting projects are available. These reactions are the basis of flame and bead tests, used to identify unknown samples.
- Make color fire spray bottles
- Colorful rainbow demonstration
- Make colorful candle flames
- How to do a flame test
- How to do a pearl test
More color change chemistry experiments
Many chemical reactions produce color changes.
There are many more chemical color change reactions than you can do as experiments and demonstrations. Here are a few to try:
- Chemical volcano changing lava color
- Easy demo of blue color change (uses household ammonia and copper sulfate)
- Simple Disappearing Colors Experience (food coloring, water, bleach)
- Bleeding knife chemistry tip
- Color changing liquid thermometer