Posts Tagged ‘Chemistry’

Don’t Flush Sodium Down The Toilet

November 22, 2016

Sodium reacts strongly with water, according to the following chemical reaction:

2Na(s) + 2H₂O → 2NaOH(aq) + H₂(g)

A colourless solution is formed, consisting of strongly alkalic sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and hydrogen gas. This is an exothermic reaction. Sodium metal gets hot in the process and may ignite and burn with a characteristic orange flame. The hydrogen gas released during the burning process also reacts strongly with oxygen in the air.

So don’t try this at home …

The liquid that pours itself

June 30, 2016

Polyethylene glycol or polyethylene oxide is a polymer. This means it is a chemical compound that is made of small molecules that are arranged in a simple repeating structure to form a larger molecule.

Because the polyethylene glycol molecules are so long it can do a crazy thing … pour itself:

Four new element names are on the table

June 10, 2016

Time to throw out that old copy of the periodic table: New names have just been penciled in for four elements officially recognized back in December. Nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson will grace the blocks assigned to atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118, said the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Learn more here.

A big chunk of sodium metal thrown in a river

May 13, 2016

Sodium reacts strongly with water, according to the following chemical reaction:

2Na(s) + 2H2O → 2NaOH(aq) + H2(g)

A colourless solution is formed, consisting of strongly alkalic sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and hydrogen gas. This is an exothermic reaction. Sodium metal is heated and may ignite and burn with a characteristic orange flame. Hydrogen gas released during the burning process reacts strongly with oxygen in the air.

Don’t try this at home …

Is radiation dangerous?

March 16, 2016

When we hear the word radiation, it’s tempting to picture huge explosions and frightening mutations. But that’s not the full story — radiation also applies to rainbows and a doctor examining an X-ray. So what is it, really, and how much should we worry about its effects?

The Chemistry of Lighting a Match

February 27, 2016

The process takes merely tenths of a second. But within that tiny amount of time, there’s a lot going on. The American Chemical Society used a high-speed camera operating a 4,000 frames a second to illustrate the sequence of chemical reactions that take place when a match is struck against a striker. The simple match is a marvelously complex device.

How batteries work

May 23, 2015

Batteries are a triumph of science—they allow smartphones and other technologies to exist without anchoring us to an infernal tangle of power cables. Yet even the best batteries will diminish daily, slowly losing capacity until they finally die. Why does this happen, and how do our batteries even store so much charge in the first place?

Match Pyramid Chain Reaction

February 27, 2015

Fire is combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke. A match is a tool for starting a fire.

Check out a match pyramid made of 5000 matches. Watch the chain reaction intensify as a wave of fire spreads over the pyramid. It took over 10 hours to build and 10 seconds to destroy!

The secret behind the sound: Why popcorn ‘pops’

February 11, 2015

Researchers know why popcorn kernels burst open, but they’ve long puzzled over the source of the “pop” sound. When popcorn heats up, the moisture inside turns into steam, building up pressure until the hull splits and fluffy white corn bursts out, often as the kernel sails into the air. The pop, slow-motion videos reveal, happens out of sync with the hull’s rupture and the corn’s launch into the air, eliminating two possible explanations for the noise. That left one remaining cause: The sound comes from the release of water vapor as the kernel opens. Learn more here.

How Small Is An Atom?

January 22, 2015

Atoms are very weird. Wrapping your head around exactly how weird, is close to impossible – how can you describe something that is SO removed from humans experience? But then again, they kind of make up everything, so let us try anyways.