Have you been wondering about the chemistry behind AMC’s dramatic television series, Breaking Bad? Here’s a look at the science of the show.


Making Colored Fire

In the pilot episode of Breaking Bad Walt White performs a chemistry demonstration in which he sprays chemicals onto a burner flame, causing it to change colors. Here’s how you can do that demonstration yourself.


Making Crystal Meth

The premise of the series is that chemist and chemistry teacher Walt White is diagnosed with cancer and seeks to make enough money to support his family after his death so he turns to making crystal meth. Just how hard is it to make this drug? Not that hard, but there are lots of reasons why you wouldn’t want to mess with it.


Mercury Fulminate

Mercury fulminate sort of looks like crystal meth, but is explosive. Mercury fulminate is easy to prepare, but you won’t find many chemists excited about mixing up a batch.


Hydrofluoric Acid

Walt uses hydrofluoric acid to dissolve a body. This works, but if you are going to use hydrofluoric acid (presumably not for that purpose), there are certain things you need to know.


Elements in the Body

The third episode of Breaking Bad finds Walt pondering what makes a man. Is it the elements of which he is comprised? No, it’s the choices he makes. Walt thinks back on his past and reviews a bit of biochemistry.


Ricin Beans

The first episode of Season 2 finds Walt making up a batch of ricin. Ricin is bad news, but you don’t need to fear castor beans or accidental poisoning.


Blue Crystal Meth

Walter White’s trademark meth is blue rather than clear or white. The blue crystal meth used in Breaking Bad really is blue rock candy or sugar crystals. You can make blue crystals yourself, for snacking while watching the show.

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