Laramie high school students taking applications to chemistry recently made tie dye shirts using pure elements.

The dyes were made of nonmetals bonded together, this type of bond is called covalent bonding.

A covalent bond is when atoms share electrons.

This allows for the atom to become stable by satisfying the octet rule (when eight electrons occupy the highest energy level of the atom).

The dye the students used chemically attaches to the fibers in the shirt to allow for the dye to stay.

Cheap dyes that can be found at grocery stores simply tangle their molecules in with the shirt, washing out and untangling each time tie shirt is washed.

The process of tie dying the shirts started with soaking the shirts in an ionic compound, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3)

The shirt is left to soak for several hours and this allows for openings in the shirts molecules for atoms to share electrons.

Having the shirt soak increases the pH of the shirt, making it less acidic, causing the cotton to lose some of its hydrogen atoms, that were bonded to oxygen.

When the dye is added to the shirt it loses a chemical called chlorine, leaving open spaces in both the shirt and in the dye molecules, for electron sharing, or covalent bonding.

Although a molecule is far too small to see, the shape and the element differences allow for the colors to be different and to be visible to the human eye.

Colors are different wavelengths of light, red having the least energy of light and violet having the most energy of light.

Yet each color has a different part on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Due to the different molecule shapes, the dyes absorb different amounts of energy.

This energy is then reflected to the eye, allowing the human eye to see the colors.

There is over 100 different ways to dye a shirt.

Each way consists of a different pattern, the most common being spiral.

To do a spiral pattern, one chooses where the center will be and then twists the shirt, or fabric.

Then ties it off with rubber and begins adding dye in different sectors.

Once this process is done, for any pattern, the fabric is then rinsed , until the water is clear and no longer has color, and then placed in the washing machine, alone to prevent other clothing from being stained.

Students in applications to chemistry completed tie dye shirts last week, as a lab.

They now have a unit test this week.

The students will either take the test on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on when they have the class.

If the students wear the shirt to take the test that student will receive extra points.

“hashtag killing it,” Sophomore Emma Sliger said when she saw student wearing tie dyes.

“the tie dye activity was way different than our other labs because we were able to take home our items and use our own creativity, and each shirt is unique and different,” Erin Chavis, a student in Tamara Bretting’s application to chemistry class said.