What happens if you microwave marshmallow peeps?

Peeps have lots of tiny air pockets that expand when heat is applied, causing the peep to grow in size.  The heat also causes the sugar molecules on the outside to break down, making the peep brown.  Why do some peeps grow and brown and others don’t?  Not all regions of the microwave are receiving equal amounts of heat!  This experiment will tell you where the ‘hot spots’ are in your microwave.

Video by H.L. Smith

What happens if you microwave graphene oxide?

The microwave irradiation causes a large volume expansion of the graphene oxide, leaving a black and fluffy graphene oxide powder.  Characterization with SEM and BET show that the rapid expansion reduces the thickness of graphene oxide sheets, and increases the specific surface area.  

Video by H.L. Smith

Zhu, Y. et al. Microwave assisted exfoliation and reduction of graphite oxide for ultracapacitors. Carbon 48, 2118–2122

What happens if you apply a voltage to graphite?

You can make graphene!  This beaker contains a solution of the inorganic salt ammonium suflate, and two electrodes- one graphite (the silver square) and one platinum wire.  A voltage difference across the electrodes produces bubbles in the solution that exert large forces on the graphite layers and separate wakly bonded graphite layers from each other.

Video by H.L. Smith

Parvez, K. et al. Exfoliation of Graphite into Graphene in Aqueous Solutions of Inorganic Salts. J Am Chem Soc 136, 6083–6091 (2014).