Where can I get those balloons?
I simply can't manage to blow up the balloons. Are there any tricks?
I finally got some air in a balloon but now I can't knot the end.
I'm interested in your methods. Is there a workshop available?
Balloons in chemical education
The balloons burst often when I build a molecule. What am I doing wrong?
How are balloons stored correctly?
Why do my fingers always hurt when I knot balloons?
Can I really show every chemical compound with balloons?
How much are the costs for these sculptures?
|Q:||Where can I get those balloons?|
You can get those modelling balloons in every shop that sells goods for jugglers and magicians. You should pay attention to quality since the cheap balloons very often don't endure the strain of every twist. We recommend balloons of the company Qualatex or Prestige. One bag with 100 balloons is the size to look for because it means that the balloons are delivered directly from manufacturer to customer.
|Q:||I simply can't manage to blow up the balloons. Are there any tricks?|
|A:||Ja: Yes, use a balloon pump! We too usually use balloon pumps for bigger molecule sculptures. To blow up the balloons without a pump needs a lot of practise and in the long run is quite exhausting. Therefore, it is only used as a special show-effect.|
|Q:||I finally got some air in a balloon but now I can't knot the end.|
|A:||It is usually very helpful to let some air out of the balloon at the mouthpiece. Through this you will get a longer piece at the end to make a knot.|
|Q:||I'm interested in your methods. Is there a workshop available?|
|A:||If you live in and around Hamburg, you are lucky: We plan to meet as a group on a regular basis in the near future. On these meetings questions could be asked and we will help with arising problems. Otherwise the web page with the different knot techniques (that you can find here) may help you. If you have further questions, just send an email. We will be happy to help you! Besides, we will find out where difficulties are and where to improve our website. Questions can also be asked at the forum|
|Q:||I am a teacher and read that you use your method in your lessons. What advantages does it have in your opinion especially comparing them to traditional construction kits that can be found in (almost) every school?|
Our method does not replace all other methods. We consider it an additional method to impart knowledge.
One advantage is the size of the sculptures. It is easily possible to build a benzol ring and to hang
in transparent round balloons as p-Orbitale. Because of this it should become clear to the students
that you can't say exactly where the double linkage is. Such a model made out of Styrofoam is rather
expensive and takes away a lot of space in during the time it isn't used. Think about it: How often
do you really use such a model in your lessons? Therefore, if there isn't one of those models at your
school yet, our method can save some high costs. There is one further main advantage though: Not only
benzol can be visualized easily with this method but also bigger molecules that won't be in a normal
school collection. Of course you can use different construction kits, but then the models will be so
small that either you will have to built a huge amount of them so that every student has one model in
front of him or her during explanations or you will have to pass one model around for them to look at
and explain afterwards two-dimensional at the blackboard. The balloon molecules allow us to explain
matters in a three-dimensional model first in front of the students and afterwards it can be passed
around so that the students can have a close look at it.
|Q:||The balloons burst often when I build a molecule. What am I doing wrong?|
In this case there are three possible sources of error:
|Q:||How are balloons stored correctly?|
The balloons shouldn't be exposed to severe changes in temperature or sunshine for a longer period
of time: The balloons don't like ultraviolet rays. The best storage is in a fridge. The chemistry
laboratory isn't a good place for storage either since solvents might corrode the balloons. Also
avoid contact with dust or sand! The already prepared but not used balloon sculptures should be put
down on a clean surface.
|Q:||Why do my fingers always hurt when I knot balloons?|
If you aren't allergic to Latex then it might be due to the powder that is on the balloons. Therefore, after building a model (or in between if it takes longer) wash your hands and particularly under your fingernails thoroughly. If you put some hand lotion on afterwards, let the lotion soak in and then wash your hand again before you go on sculpturing. Otherwise the hand lotion will 'attack' the balloons and they will blast easier.
|Q:||Can I really show every chemical compound with balloons?|
Yes. The balloons automatically adjust every angle in a way that an atom according to modern atom models does, too. When three balloons meet at one knot (at the atomic nucleus so to speak), they act just like a sp2-hybrid atom which means they form a planary system. When four balloons meet, they form a tetrahedral. You only have to keep in mind to build some free electron pairs as well. If you do this for example for water, there will be a smaller angle than for a tetrahedral, since there are six balloons that meet in one knot (two compounds for the hydrogen atom and two each for one free electron pair).
|Q:||How much are the costs for these sculptures?|
That depends on the size of the sculptures. The bigger the sculptures, the more balloons you need of course. For small sculptures you usually don't need more than five to seven balloons. One bag with 100 balloons costs about 10 Euro. If you bear in mind to use a different colour for every functional group of a molecule and always use the same colour for these groups, it can happen that some colours are left at the end that seem to be unsuitable (e.g. baby blue or pink). If you take this into consideration, one sculpture will cost round about 1 Euro. For bigger sculptures it might be more sufficient to buy single-coloured balloons instead of bags of various-coloured balloons. Those are more difficult to find though.