The Rainbow Connection Demonstration
Chemical Concept Demonstrated
Each glass produces a differently colored liquid. When these liquids are poured back into the pitcher, the result is a colorless solution.
Before the experiment took place, each glass was pretreated with six different mixtures of indicator, as shown below:
Red: 1.5 g phenolphthalein and 3.0 g m-nitrophenol
Orange: .45 g phenolphthalein and 6.0 g m-nitrophenol
Yellow: 6.0 g m-nitrophenol
Green: .6 g thymolphthalein and 6.0 g m-nitrophenol
Blue: 1.5 g thymolphthalein
Violet: .9 g phenolphthalein and .4 g thymolphthalein
These indicator solutions were all then allowed to evaporate into a thin film at the bottom of each glass, rendering them invisible.
The solutions change color because a basic solution is added to each glass. All of the indicator mixtures are colorless under acidic conditions and change color under basic conditions.
At the end of the demonstration, the solutions are poured together into a second pitcher that contains a powerful acidic solution. Because the indicators are colorless under acidic conditions, the contents of all of the glasses mix with the acidic solution to form a single, colorless solution.