A puff of smoke. Billowing clouds. Blobs of wax in a lava lamp. The neon blue and green undulating chemicals glowing under ultraviolet light evoke the imagination.
In a lab in Paris, a group of artists plays with chemical reactions in a project called Chemical Bouillon to get these wild and colorful visual displays. They use all kinds of strange and common products to form patterns that sometimes look similar to objects and phenomena in our natural world.
This video of blue and green fluorescein—a dark orange powder commonly used as a fluorescent marker when dissolved—is a part of Chemical Bouillon’s most recent series of UV dye videos. When added to water, alcohol, or other solvents, the fluorescein creates a smoky quality.
At the 20-second mark, the dye gives off small puffs, but it quickly expands like smoke filling a room.
Aside from creating psychedelic patterns, the non-toxic, biodegradable powder has a lot of different practical uses. It helps ophthalmologists with detecting corneal injuries, doctors with administering angiograms, and aerospace engineers in tracking landed space shuttles in the ocean. You can even create these trippy patterns yourself by extracting fluorescein from highlighters.
This video shows how to do it safely:
In other videos in Chemical Bouillon’s UV dye series, the dyes resemble molten magma, mushrooms, and kelp forests. Check out Chemical Bouillon’s entire video collection to see all kinds of beautiful, abstract patterns. For now, you can enjoy these highlights.
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