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The Magic of Chemistry in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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Lena Barajas

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of The Magic of Chemistry in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Lewis Structure
J.K. Rowling's Chemical Wizardry:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Floo powder is a magical substance that wizards in the world of Harry Potter use to transport themselves to different locations that are connected by a system of linked fireplace flues. When floo powder is put on a flame, it turns the flame green, and the wizard therefore disappears and is transported to a different location.
How can muggles recreate floo powder?
Although muggles cannot use the Floo network to transport from place to place, the green flame is quite simple to reproduce. Simply sprinkling boric acid onto a flame turns it green. Similarly, muggles may aspirate a saturated solution of boric acid in methanol in a burner flame.
"He took a pinch of glittering powder out of the
flowerpot, stepped up to the fire, and threw the powder
into the flames. With a roar, the fire turned emerald green
and rose higher than Fred, who stepped right into it,
shouted 'Diagon Alley!' and vanished"

Boric Acid 101
also called hydrogen borate & orthoboric acid
weak Lewis Acid
molecular formula: H3BO3 or B(OH)3
white powder that dissolves in boiling water
B(OH)3 (s)-->HBO2 +H20 (g)
high activation energy
Geometry: Trigonal Planar
No dipole moment
Common Uses
Often used in salt-water swimming pools as a buffer (pKa 9.24) for HOCl where drastic increases in pH are common.
HOCl is the pool cleaner that eliminates bacteria and mold from forming.
Other chemicals in the pool react with the HOCl, which reduces the concentration HOCl (and increases the pH) in the pool.
The B(OH)3 acts as the primary buffer system. The high pKa allows the HOCl (which is in less quantity) to remain in it's Bronsted-Lowry Acid form.
Bicarbonate ions (with pKa of 6) are less effective since the high pH is present in salt water pools.

-Excerpt from J.K. Rowling's
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
What is Floo Powder?
The Experiment
B(OH)3 + 3 CH3OH -> B(OCH3)3 + 3 H20 + energy
Boric Acid
Trimethyl borate

Fire Starter is mostly methanol.
Boric Acid is the white powder.
Trimethyl borate is what makes the solution green
Full transcript