A Simple and Brief Household Experiment
Richard L. Howey, Wyoming, USA
Sometimes simple and rather dubious experiments can produce surprisingly interesting and pleasing results. One afternoon, I was working in my lab and got some rather foul muck from an old ripe protozoan culture on my hands. I went into the bathroom to wash my hands and I also rubbed some Purell Hand Sanitizer in vigorously. I am an inveterate label reader and I had noticed months before that the primary ingredient is ethyl alcohol. So, on this particular afternoon, since I had already decided to make up some crystal slides using Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), I wondered what would happen if I mixed in a drop of Purell with the Ascorbic acid.
You should note, however, that there are plenty of other ingredients in this product making it virtually impossible to determine exactly what is reacting with what.
Here’s a list of the ingredients for your contemplation.
1) Ethyl alcohol
3) Isopropyl alcohol
6) Aminomethyl propanol
7) Propylene glycol
8) Isopropyl myristate
9) Tochopheryl acetate
I confess, I’m not overly concerned about the composition and much more focused on the results. The first 3 results were rather ho-hum and I thought I was being silly and wasting my time. Here are those first 3 images.
The first is super boring, the second shows a dominance of Ascorbic acid, the third is rather more interesting because of the internal “feather” processes, but certainly not anything to write home about.
Then suddenly a turnaround and I get a wonderfully colorful, busy image and I was much heartened that perhaps my experiment was not so silly after all.
Next, along came a section of something looking rather like a coral reef, to my delight.
Who could have imagined that a marriage of Vitamin C and hand sanitizer could produce such offspring?
However, then I had a startling revelation; these coral-like things were hatching out of an alien egg. You want proof? Well, here it is!
And then, I got an image of the adult form. Clearly, these hideous creatures will attempt to destroy the human race.
However, they don’t know that we have rockets, missiles, lasers, and thermonuclear weapons and are prepared to blow up the entire planet to prevent them from taking over.
By the way, most hand sanitizers use 70% isopropyl alcohol as the main ingredient, but Purell doesn’t: it uses that good stuff–ethyl alcohol that you find in your gin, vodka, Scotch, etc. Unfortunately, they add something which tastes terrible and cannot be filtered out. So, don’t trying drinking Purell; it produces wild fantasies.
All comments to the author Richard Howey are welcomed.
Editor's note: Visit Richard Howey's new website at http://rhowey.googlepages.com/home where he plans to share aspects of his wide interests.
Published in the October 2019 edition of Micscape Magazine.
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