Andres Tretiakov

The Chemical Domino 2017

Discussion created by Andres Tretiakov on Jun 28, 2017

First conceived and materialised ten years ago, The chemical domino 2017 consists of a series of captivating chemical reactions that follow in sequence in a Rube Goldberg type apparatus. The demonstrator only initiates the first reaction; the others follow in a cascade as a result of generating gases providing the necessary pressure to push solutions into reaction vessels which siphon into others and so on. Hence, creating a ''domino effect’’.





The reactions include:

1- Reduction of water by an active metal generating hydrogen


2- Acid-base neutralization reactions in solution monitored by

         two pH indicators with production of carbon dioxide


3- Displacement (REDOX) reaction: reduction of metallic ions by

         a metal of greater activity.

4- Formation of a coordination compound (transition metal

         complex) with different ligands.

5- Decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by a copper (II) complex


6- Ligand substitution reactions of nickel (II) complex ion.

7- Pyrotechnic reduction-oxidation reaction between an alcohol

         and an oxidising agent followed by the ignition of a fuel-

        oxidising agent mixture.

8- Combustion of a cellulose nitrate string finishing with the

         explosion of a hydrogen-filled balloon.


The chemical domino includes and covers many topics in chemistry and physics. It can be used as a review at the end of the academic year or set as a challenge to investigate the reaction mechanisms and classify the types of reactions. Moreover, it proves to be a good starting point for discussions and predictions based on the initial set-up.




Inspired and based on the article written by M. Dale Alexander in the Journal of Chemical Education, Vol.75,  No. 4,  April 1998.