Watch the Beautiful Chemical Reactions Captured in Stunning Microphotography

You don’t have to know your Zn(NO3)2 from your CuSO4 to appre­ci­ate these absolute­ly beau­ti­ful videos of chem­i­cal reac­tions cre­at­ed for a site called Beau­ti­ful Chem­istry.

Pro­fes­sor Yan Liang of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy of Chi­na, along with co-cre­ators Xian­gang Tao and Wei Huang, and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Tsinghua Uni­ver­si­ty Press, are all behind the project, which focus­es a hi-def micro­scop­ic cam­era on chem­i­cal reac­tions like bub­bling, met­al dis­place­ment, crys­tal­liza­tion, smoke and liq­uids.

It may sound like an effects menu in a com­put­er ren­der­ing pro­gram, and indeed some of these videos look so beau­ti­ful in terms of light­ing and col­or that CGI could be sus­pect­ed. (Some com­menters have added the videos to their VFX/Computer Graph­ics view­ing lists.) But accord­ing to the site, this is not the case.

For an exam­ple of the beau­ty, just check out at the six-sec­ond mark when Cobalt Chlo­ride and Sodi­um Sil­i­cate meet, result­ing in bul­bous blue and pur­ple growths:

Or look at the win­try frac­tal forests that spawn when zinc meets sil­ver nitrate (AgNO3), cop­per sul­fate (CuSO4), and lead nitrate (Pb(NO3)2):

The Beau­ti­ful Chem­istry site has sev­er­al oth­er inter­est­ing series to check out for the sci­ence lover, includ­ing an ongo­ing intro­duc­tion to the ele­ments in car­toon form and a pho­to gallery of chem­istry instru­ments from his­to­ry. They are, as the site says, beau­ti­ful. More videos can be found on their Vimeo chan­nel.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Chem­istry Cours­es

Marie Curie’s Research Papers Are Still Radioac­tive 100+ Years Lat­er

The Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Scaled to Show The Ele­ments’ Actu­al Abun­dance on Earth

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the FunkZone Pod­cast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at and/or watch his films here.

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