This is the CHaOS demonstrator website, mainly intended for our student volunteers. Click here if you were looking for our main front page.

CHaOS Experiment Explanations

CHaOS has a large collection of different experiments that we use at our events,as listed below. The links take you to experiment explanations aimed at explaining experiments to new CHaOS demonstrators (typically Cambridge science students), as well as risk assessments.

You can filter experiments by subject. There is significant overlap between subjects, many engineering experiments could easily be classified as physics, medical experiments as biology...

Title Intro Subject
Fruit Batteries and fuel cell construction Chemistry
Air Rockets Launching lemonade bottle air rockets along a rope Physics
Air Streams Balancing balls on upward streams of air, and looking at aerodynamics. Physics
Alloys Chemistry
Animal skulls Looking at different animal skulls to compare them and see how they differ. Biology
Anti-bubbles Make fascinating bubbles which rather than floating on water actually sink. Physics
Arch Bridge Building an arch bridge, and then walking over it. Engineering
Articulated Knee Model A spare plastic skeleton leg, now with added ligaments. Medicine
Binary Adder Adding numbers using a mechanical calculator Maths
Blind spot test A simple test to show that there is a blind spot on the retina of the eye Medicine
Blood Glucose Medicine
Blood Groups Why are blood groups important? Medicine
Bouncing Balls Bouncing balls under coffee tables and rolling them into walls to show some strange effects. Physics
Brain Model Anatomical model of the brain. Medicine
Breaking Paper Stretch pieces of paper to demonstrate just how strong paper is under tension. Engineering
Bubble Column Explore the wonderous shapes made by simple air bubbles in water. Physics
Camera obscura and lenses Peering at the outside world through a lens. Physics
Cantilever Bridges Building a series of cantilever bridges Engineering
Cathedral How can we use arches to hold up a cathedral? Engineering
CBS Robotics Workshop Robotics Workshop run during CBS, in conjunction with Robogals Cambridge Engineering
Citrus Canker SCIR Model Show kids how disease dynamics, with a model of Citrus Canker spreading through a population of orange trees Biology
Cleaning Coppers Removing copper oxides from coins. Chemistry
Cloud Formation in a Bottle Demonstrate cloud formation as air pressure drops. Physics
Colour mixing Dimmable, focussed red, green and blue lamps for experimenting with light colour mixing Physics
Cornflour Explore the remarkable properties of cornflour mixed with water. Chemistry
Cornflour monster Make cornflour dance on a speaker Physics
Creepy Crawlies Looking at a variety of small creatures that you can find in your garden Biology
Dinosaurs and their Ocean Friends A collection of Mesozoic vertebrate fossils Geology
Dissecting sheep's eyeballs Dissecting a sheep's eyeball to show the structure of the eye Medicine
Drosophila This experiment aims to introduce kids to a wonderful model organism, the Drosophila fruit fly. Biology
Ear model Anatomical model of the ear, with removable parts. Medicine
Ear switching hat This magical hat will confuse your senses! Medicine
Electrolysis Splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and using the recombination of these to launch ping-pong balls. Chemistry
Electromagnetism Making electricity, and using it to spin a motor. Physics
Engines What are the different types of engine, and how do they work? Engineering
Exercise and Heart rate When you exercise your heart beats faster! Medicine
Exoplanets and Alien Biology Physics
Exploring genes Props to explain DNA and molecular biology, including a plastic DNA gel! Biology
Eye Model Anatomical model of an eye with removable parts to show the structures inside. Medicine
Fabulous Fossils A collection of various fossils (Sedgwick Musum Fossil Set 2) Geology
Fire Extinguishers Demonstrating the power of a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. Chemistry
Giant Bubbles Making giant soap bubbles and looking at how they behave in different shaped frames. Chemistry
Giant intestine model Functional model of the intestine Medicine
Hand Model Large working model of a hand and forearm, with all the tendons to show how a hand works. Medicine
Heart Model Anatomical model of the heart to show how the heart works. Medicine
Hexaflexagons Maths
Horrible Housemates Jars of all sorts of horrible house pests; bugs, flies, worms and more! Biology
Horse Racing Maths
Hot Air Balloons Making hot air balloons with plastic bags and a toaster. Physics
Invisible Ink Chemistry
Jaw model and giant teeth Anatomical model of the half jaw, parts can be removed to show structure of the teeth. Medicine
Kiwi DNA Breaking open cells of a kiwi fruit and making the DNA inside visible to the human eye Biology
Kruskal's count Players follow playing cards around a circle and watch as they magically come together Maths
Larynx model Functional model of the larynx Medicine
Life cycles Jars of specmens of frogs, bees and butterflies from different lifecycle stages Biology
Locusts and Glowsticks Using glow sticks to talk about chemical kinetics. Chemistry
Lung Model Working model of the lungs with diaphragm and rib cage. Medicine
Mechanical advantage Using pulleys and levers to explore mechanical advantage Engineering
Microbes: bacteria Cuddly bugs, props from a lab, and a hand-washing experiment Biology
Microbes: parasites Get up close an personal to some parasites (well, preserved slides), and find out more about them... Biology
Microbes: viruses Cuddly viruses and a few models too Biology
Microscopes & Cells Examining a variety of objects under a microscope, including a variety of slides Biology
Mini Explosions Exploding film canisters with lemon juice and bicarb. Chemistry
Mini-beasts A variety of sea life and freshwater animals observed using microscopes Biology
Model cells Box of model cells Biology
Molecular models and Periodic table Chemistry
More Fabulous Fossils A collection of various fossils (Sedgwick Musum Fossil Set 29) Geology
Near IR webcam Use a modified webcam to see into the near infrared. Physics
Organ Vest A velcro apron with detachable 3D organs, to show what's inside your body. Medicine
Peak flow Using a peak flow meter to measure peak flow rates Medicine
Phase Game Game introducing the phases of matter and phase changes Physics
Pipe-cleaner neurones Making model neurones from coloured pipe cleaners! Biology
Plant evolution & pollinator game Plant evolution timeline and matching plants with their pollinators Biology
Plants Plants - looking at germination, their structure and how they produce energy by photosynthesis Biology
Polarisation Discover how polaroid filters block light as you turn them round Physics
Polio, vaccination and disease eradication Use our cuddly poliovirus to learn how we can prevent and eradicate diseases! Biology
Pond Life A selection of organisms from a local pond or rock pool Biology
Prism Goggles Demonstrate how the brain adapts to changes in environmental input using prism goggles. Medicine
Psychedelic Milk See the amazing patterns made by food colouring and detergent in milk. Chemistry
Random Walks Maths
Red cabbage Making a natural pH indicator. Chemistry
Resonance What is the link between earthquakes and cello strings? Physics
Reversible Flow Turn syrup one way, then the other, and see that it gets back where it started. Physics
Robots on tour! Challenges that can be done with robots in a relativley short time period. Engineering
Rocks and Fossils A box of rocks and fossils Geology
Rod Climbing A polyacrylamide solution, which "climbs up" a rod when it is rotated in the solution Chemistry
Rolling Down Hills Racing jam jars down a gentle slope, to see how filling them affects the speed. Physics
Scale of the Solar System By comparing sizes and distances we can scale our solar system all the way up from the Earth and the Moon, up to our nearest star, and you might be surprised how far that actually is! Physics
Seeing Sound Use an oscilloscope and slinky spring to see how sound travels Physics
Skeleton and bones Meet Boris, the friendly CHaOS skeleton. Medicine
Slug Bubbles Does a tube of water drain more slowly with a bung in the top? Physics
Sodium Acetate Rapid crystal growth from sodium acetate. Chemistry
Sounds from an oven shelf Get very strange sounds from an oven shelf. Physics
Spinning Chair Use a freely spinning chair, some masses and a bicycle wheel to see some unintuitive physics. Physics
Spinning Eggs How to test if an egg is uncooked or hard boiled. Physics
Stethoscopes Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and find out how it works. Medicine
Strange Temperatures and roughnesses A variety of experiments to show how our senses are relative rather than absolute: Medicine
Sunset Model Why is the sky blue and the sunset red? Physics
Surface Tension Showing that surface tension can support paperclips. Physics
Suspension Bridge A suspension bridge made from rope and wood that children can walk across. Engineering
Sweet Chromatography Using chromatography to investigate the colour of food. Chemistry
Tangrams Maths
Tendon Hammer Using a tendon hammer to show and explain some strange reflexes Medicine
Thixotropic sand and fluidised bed Looking at floating and sinking using a bed of sand Chemistry
Trebuchets Using a medieval inspired siege-weapon to launch bean bag bunnies Engineering
Tree Biology
Urinalysis Medicine
UV (Fluorescence) Looking at how materials fluoresce in UV light. Physics
Vacuums Various demonstrations using a vacuum pump. Physics
Vegetable oil and pyrex Using the refractive index of vegetable oil to make a glass bowl 'disappear'. Physics
Water densities, food colour sugar water oil miscibility Chemistry
Water Fibre Optics Constraining light in a stream of water, making it work like an optical fibre. Physics
Water rockets Launching lemonade bottle water rockets with a foot pump. Physics
Wave Phase Tank Physics
X Rays A collection of x-rays and other forms of medical diagnostic imagery. Medicine
Xylem Showing one of the transport systems in plants. Biology
Yeast & bread making The idea is to look at how yeast grows and how it relates to bread making. It involves getting the kids to make bread dough. Biology