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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 15 (2010) pp 108-109

A New Procedure for the Lightning Experiment: Mn2O7 and Ethanol

Francesco Caruso*,†, Francesco Giannici, Fulvio Caruso§, and Michele A. Floriano

Department of Physical Chemistry “Filippo Accascina”, Università di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Parco d’Orleans, Ed. 17, I 90128 Palermo, Italy, f.caruso@unipa.it, Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry “Stanislao Cannizzaro”, Università di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Parco d’Orleans, Ed. 17, I 90128 Palermo, Italy §Department of Electrical, Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering (DIEET), Università di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Parco d’Orleans, Ed. 9, I 90128 Palermo, Italy
Received July 30, 2008. Accepted September 2, 2009.

Published: 27 January 2010

Abstract. Formation of Mn2O7 and its reaction with ethanol is commonly referred to as “underwater lightnings”. Classic procedures are reviewed, along with their weak points, and physical and chemical properties of dimanganese heptaoxide are shown. A new improved approach is finally presented, safer and easier, and suited for lecturehall activities.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; inorganic chemistry, transition element chemistry, Mn (VII) oxidation state

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: f.caruso@unipa.it)

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