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PCHS tie-dyes for science

By Nicole Burns

For the FCT


Phil Campbell High School students recently got a groovy lesson. Candace Golliver with UNA’s Science in Motion visited Mitzie Posey’s class to teach the students the art and science behind tie-dye.

“We’re looking at how those dyes chemically bond to the shirts as opposed to the dye that just physically bonds to the shirt and stains it,” said Golliver. “After a while, it will fade out, where these should maintain their color.”

The students were excited about the hands-on experiment. “It was a really different experience from the past assignments,” said PCHS junior Jacob Litteral. “Normally in a school setting we have book work or homework and that kind of thing. This hands-on experience in chemistry class was an eye opener to the possibilities of working in a scientific field with chemicals and formulas and so forth.”

Before any color splashed onto the stark white shirts and bandannas, Golliver and Posey carefully went over several pages of safety precautions and instructions. “I went over with them about soaking the shirts in the basic solution so that the hydrogen bond is pulled off so that the dye can chemically bond to it,” said Golliver. “Sodium carbonate is a basic solution. It helps raise the pH.”

After safety and instructions were covered, Golliver shared some helpful hints for students before they were released to create. “If you use too much dye, and you put it in that bag, it’s all going to mix together and you’ll have a brown shirt,” warned Golliver.

“It’s really fun,” said Litteral. “I, in the future, plan on pursuing chemistry, so this is an opportunity for me to see chemical reactions happen. I’m planning on being a polymer chemist.”