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The Magic of



The Magic of Oxygen

Amaze your friends with Oxygen

For this trick you will need a dinner plate, a glass, water, a candle and a coin.

Place the coin on the plate and cover it with water. Then ask a friend to pick up the coin in his/her fingers without dipping them into the water.

How to do it

Place the candle in the water, light it and cover it with the glass.

When the flame goes out you will find that the water has gone into the glass leaving the coin high and dry on the plate.

Why is that ?

Oxygen forms about one fifth of our atmosphere and is essential to the burning process.

If it were a person you would probably call it 'loose' because it joins up with most other elements to create new compounds.

I always thought that, with the trick on the left, the candle heated the air causing it to expand, pushing the air out of the glass. Then, I thought, as the air cooled and contracted it sucked the water into the glass.

It is actually the oxygen forming a compound with the carbon in the space changing the character of the oxygen.

Below we will look at another method of transforming the oxygen and disproving my initial thoughts.


Press a fine steel wool pad, not the soapy kind, into the bottom of a glass and dampen with water then put the upturned glass into a bowl of water.

After several hours the water will have risen into the glass to take up around one fifth of the available space as the iron and the oxygen have combined, locking the oxygen into a new compound and taking it from the air mixture.

We begin to see by this method that the heat is not pushing out the expanded air and that oxygen does, in fact, take up around one fifth of the air.

Oxygen is the most important of the gasses for living things including both animals and plants and is our most abundant element.


Oxygen makes up around one fifth of our air.

When combined with other elements oxygen makes up about half of the earth's crust and combined with hydrogen, almost nine tenths of our oceans.

During the day plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen which is why an abundance of trees and plants is so important.

When oxygen combines with other elements it is called oxidation.

Burning, or combustion, is called fast oxidation while rusting is slow oxidation.

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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment