Science

Prosthetic monkey arms and tarnish removal

So have you heard about the thought-controlled prosthetic monkey arm?

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOkpn0BN2HE]

And for an easy at-home science experiment, try tarnishing silver and then untarnishing it.  I’m off to clean some silver jewelry right now.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPnx1GHskAY]

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m hosting a wine tasting dinner party Sunday and figured I’d give the polishing silverware with SCIENCE a try. The short answer, it works!

    Trying to do good science I started with some knives and left one out as a control so I could see the difference. It isn’t double blind I know, but we kitchen scientist have lower standards. I could really tell the difference. It didn’t clean every spot on the silver but the typical dark gray tarnish in the decorative handles was completely gone.

    I set the silverware in the mixture for 5 minutes, then flipped them over and let them sit for about 5 minutes more. I took them out rinsed and dried them. I’ll run them through the dishwasher before I set a table with them. It is a whole lot easier than using silver polish!

  2. The hardboiled egg “tarnishing” method is pretty common in the amateur jewelry field – it’s cousin to the professional method of coloring (adding a patina to) silver using what’s called “liver of sulfur” (which, I have to say, smells just as pleasant you’d expect it to, with a name like that).

    I haven’t tried that baking soda and aluminum foil method, but if you need a really good solution for tarnish, I recommend Tarnx – it’s what a lot of people that I know in the field use.

  3. Yep, I’ve used liver of sulfur before in chem classes and it does indeed smell just as good as its name.

    The baking soda and aluminum foil worked wonders on a silver chain I have with lots of nooks and crannies. It was brown with tarnish and now it’s good as new. Glad it saved you lots of work too, AgnosticOracle!

  4. A while back, there was a product that was marketed as a magical way to clean your silver without any effort. It was a thin metal plate that you put it in a shallow water bath, add baking soda, and voila! Instantly get rid of unsightly tarnish. Well, as you have probably already guessed it was just a sheet of rolled aluminum. I think it had holes drilled in it to make it look more impressive or something. My mom bought one and was astounded when I showed her she could do the same thing with aluminum foil. Score one for science.

    The monkey-controlled arm is seriously cool, though. Once they get the kinks worked out, I’ll be one human trial away from realizing my dream to become Doctor Octopus.

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