Fake Snow???

snow

Okay, so maybe this picture doesn’t have fake snow, but that does’t mean we can’t make it! Fake snow can be made with paper, you know, cutting out triangles and stuff, but I think it’ll be more fun to use chemistry!

This fake snow is made of polymers. It is non-toxic, can feel cool to the touch, and can last for days! You can always buy fake snow, but it will be *cooler* to make it yourself. You can get a polymer called sodium polyacrylate from disposable diapers or as crystals in a garden center. All you have to do is just add water. Literally! Just add water! Then you can mix it so it feels like a gel. You can add as much water as you want to get your desired effect. Don’t worry, the gel won’t dissolve. It just depends on how slushy you like your snow. If you want to make your snow even cooler, literally, put it into the fridge. It won’t dry out, and you can always add more water.

When you are done with your snow, not that you would ever get rid of it, you can throw it out. If you want colored snow, you can mix in some food coloring. For drier snow, you can add some salt to it to help absorb the water.

Warning: Do Not Eat. Non-toxic doesn’t mean edible.

Enjoy!

Links:
http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryhowtoguide/ht/fakesnow.htm
So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

Egg-cellent, Egg-citing, and Egg-travagant!

  (Ha lol I want that!)

I like eggs for breakfast. I myself am partial to scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, or omelettes. But no matter how you like your eggs, they are an excellent source of protein.

The proteins inside of eggs  change as you heat them, beat them, or mix them with other ingredients. These Proteins  are made of long chains of amino acids. One site writes, “The proteins in an egg white are globular proteins, which means that the long protein molecule is twisted and folded and curled up into a more or less spherical shape. A variety of weak chemical bonds keep the protein curled up tight as it drifts placidly in the water that surrounds it.”  The egg-white proteins react when heat is applied to them causing the molecules to move around thus colliding with other molecules. This leads to the chemical bonds being ruptured and the proteins then unwrap. From here new chemical bonds from by fusing to one another creating a long line interconnected  proteins. If you leave the eggs at the right heat for the right amount of time, you will get a great tasting breakfast. If you leave the eggs in the heat for too long, it makes too many bonds, making the eggs rubbery. Yuck!

When you beat raw eggs, you make a lot of air bubbles. Even though you are doing something different to the eggs, you still get the same result: the proteins are unfolded. Amino acids are either hydro-phobic or -phillic, meaning they either love or hate water. This may seem unrelated, but egg-white contain both types of amino acids. One articles explains, “When an egg protein is up against an air bubble, part of that protein is exposed to air and part is still in water. The protein uncurls so that its water-loving parts can be immersed in the water—and its water-fearing parts can stick into the air. Once the proteins uncurl, they bond with each other—just as they did when heated—creating a network that can hold the air bubbles in place.” When you heat up the gas in the bubbles, they expand. Under the right conditions, the bubbles can solidify, so the bubble structure doesn’t collapse.

Eggs also contain a substance known as an emulsifier. Egg yolks, specifically, contain of lot of this substance. This substance pretty much allows for oil and water to mix without trying to go back to their original arrangement: being isolated from each other. This again goes back to the hydro -phillic and -phobic amino acids. Some will stick to the water and others the oil, efficiently mixing the two.

Whenever I go out to breakfast, I usually get eggs. Now I know what’s really going on while my eggs are cooking!

Links:

http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/eggscience.html

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

It’s Okay, Don’t Cry!

I happen to love the favor of onions. But I don’t love the process of cutting them up. First off, no matter how hard you try, you always start tearing up. And don’t even think about wiping your eyes with your onion covered hands! SO I wanted to learn why you tear up, and, how do you stop it?

Onions are made up of a tunic of outer leaves, scales, and the basal plate. One site puts the reason, “When you cut the basal plate or shoot, they release an enzyme.That enzyme reacts in the rest of the onion to release a gas. When that gas combines with water, it creates an acid. If that water is in your eye, you have acid in your eye. That makes you cry.”

To prevent tearing up, you could use a variety of ways, like a very sharp knife. What releases the enzymes is broken or crushed cells, and, by using a sharper knife, more cells are sliced, therefore emitting less enzymes. Putting them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before you cut them can also help, as this reduces the amount of the acid enzyme released into the air. Another way to stop the tears is to wear goggles or contacts, as it creates a barrier between your eyeballs and the air. Cutting the onion underwater or near steam or running will work too. Just to be safe, try breathing through your mouth, or with your tongue sticking out.

For more ways, see the link below. Cutting onions is something everyone does at least once, and now you can master the chopping block without tearing up!

Links:

http://www.wikihow.com/Chop-Onions-Without-Tears

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

Big Bang Theory Bazingas!

Bazinga! Maybe you’ve never heard that before, but, if your anything like me, and, I mean, you are on a chemistry site, you have probably heard about the show, The Big Bang Theory. This show is fantastic, filled with clever puns, and hilarious situations. The main character, Sheldon, continuously makes jokes, so I thought I’d share some ones with you. Most of these jokes are self-explanatory, but I’ll explain them just in case.

  • Sheldon: Want me to tell a Potassium joke? Leonard:  K.  (Potassium’s symbol is K)
  • Sheldon: Do I know any jokes about sodium? Leonard: Na.  (Sodium’s symbol is Na)

  • Sheldon: Want to hear a joke about Nitric Oxcide? Leonard: NO  (The compound Nitric Oxcide is formed by Nitrogen (N) and Oxygen (O))

  • Sheldon: Chemistry puns? Leonard: I’m in my element. (Because you really need to know the elements for chemistry)

  • Sheldon: Neutron walks into a bar, and wants to pay tab. Bartender says, “For you, no charge. (neutrons are subatomic particles that have no charge. They are neutral, unlike protons and electrons, which are positively and negatively charged, respectively.)

  • “Sheldon: I think these chemistry jokes are getting old. It’s time to Barium.” (Barium is an element, so it relates to chemistry. Here, it is used as a play on words, instead of bury them, it’s barium (bury-em))
  •  Rahj :Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you are CuTe. Howard:  you are NEVER going to get any girls… (Copper’s symbol is Cu and Tellurium’s is Te)

Social media is everything these days, and using jokes, especially on funny but educational shows like the Big Bang Theory is a clever way to help someone learn something. That’s why this blog and the electron dance project I had to do was so helpful. It allows you to work with social media as well as do something fun, while engaging in an educational project.

So, there really isn’t a specific website for this, but you can just find them on the official site http://www.tbs.com/stories/story/0,,259331,00.html or search it. Also, some of these I just heard on the show, so I didn’t get them specifically from anywhere.

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

Totally Toothy

 

In the morning, amidst a dozen other things I have to do, I brush my teeth with minty toothpaste from a plastic tube. While I dislike the taste, I know it keeps my teeth clean, and free from plaque and cavities, among other things. But what is toothpaste, really, and how does it help clean your teeth?

Egypt is where the earliest toothpaste is noted, most likely made from a rock (in its powdered form) called purnice, and mixed with vinegar. Greeks and Romans added substances like bones and oyster shells. In the 19th century, toothpaste became more popular. It was usually made from chalk, brick, and salt. In the 1900’s, it was replaxced with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

Fluoride is a really important part of toothpaste these days. Fluoride strengthens the enamel on your teeth. One site writes, “[Chemists]  believe that by a process of remineralisation the fluoride turns into fluoride rich compounds known as apatite. This in turn strengthens the enamel, protecting it from dissolving in acid.” I’m pretty sure this site meant remineralization, and just made a spelling error, as remineralization means to convert to a mineral substance. 

Another important part of toothpaste is something known as abrasives, which causes the gritty feeling of toothpaste. Abrasives are used to clean teeth by removing stains, plaque and any excess food particles. Some abrasives used today are hydrated silica, aluminium oxides, and calcium carbonate. Different phosphates of calcium or aluminium are also used.

Surfactants are the last piece within toothpaste that I’ll mention today. This is used to help loosen pieces of food or plaque stuck in your teeth to allow your toothbrush to take it away. One site writes, “The structure of these molecules allows it to attach to the stain at one end and water at the other. This is why these molecules can remove those nasty stains by pulling them away.”  One example is sodium lauryl sulphate, which also reduces the possibility of plaque growing.

Without toothpaste, our teeth would not be as healthy as they are today, not to mention how much smellier our breath would be!

Links:

http://humantouchofchemistry.com/what-makes-toothpaste-work.htm

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/remineralization

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

Why So Smelly? Sharpie Scents

  • A marker sold in about 20 different countries, sharpie has about 39 different colors with a fine point. It can be used for posters, add some pop to notebooks, or for arts and crafts. They come in bright, bold colors, can be used to do anything a normal marker does. But it’s a SHARPIE! And that, by itself, makes it worthy for a chemistry post. That and I know a bunch of people who joke about sniffing markers and I already know that it’s not good for you, so I wanted to eleaborate.

Sharpies are made up of many different parts. First, They have a plastic outside and a plastic cap. There is ink within the Sharpie contained in a soft material called a “reservoir”. The tip is made of felt.

Some chemicals found in a sharpie are, according to one site, “…xylene, and then solvent of their choice such as: alcohol, ethanol or isopropanol, ethylene glycol monobutyl. There is at least propanol, butanol, and diacetone. Therefore resin or polymer is added as a “binder” that promotes adhesion. Permchrome ink has the alcohol but not glycol ether.” There chemical makeups are below. Alcohol, ethanol, and iosopropanol are solvents, and Ethylene Glycol monobutyl evaporates quickly.

  • Alcohol:  hydroxyl functional group (-O H) combines with a carbon atom

  • Ethanol: (C2H5OH) Isopropanol: common compound with molecular formula, C3H8O or C3H7OH

  • Ethylene glycol: HO+OH, ethane-1,2-diol

Sharpies, with these chemicals, are toxic when sniffed too much. Some people use Sharpies as a way to experience a “high”, a feeling you get when doing drugs. This is very dangerous, as these fumes can result in damage such as hallucinations, nausea, and memory loss. If sniffed too much, people can get damage to vital organs like the brain and the kidneys. Muscle spasms in the arms and legs can also occur. This can come from sniffing any marker excessively, so, even if it is scented, don’t sniff the markers. While just using the marker won’t hurt you, don’t force anyone to smell it directly, or purposely smell it.

Links:

http://www.chemistryislife.com/the-chemistry-of-sharpies

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!

OMG: Oh My Glowstick!

glow sticks

Who doesn’t love stuff that glows in the dark in uber cool colors? No one, that’s who! So why not talk about something that many of us have seen at parties, handed out at school, or used in the “real world”? Glow sticks are sometimes relied upon for military use, police use, fire use, and EMS operations, along with the recreational uses.

Glow sticks contain fluorescent dyes called sensitizer and and fluouphor. The dyes are mixed with hydrogen peroxide and contained in a plastic tube. These can be combined in a variety of ways with different ratios to produce a brighter, shorter glow, or a dimmer, longer light. One site writes, “Putting the glow stick in a cooler environment slows down the reaction which creates a dimmer glow that will last longer. In contrast, placing the glow stick in a hotter environment will exaggerate the glow but will shorten the lifespan.” The dyes, obviously, show the color, and then the other two are chemicals that, when combined, give off light.  A common combination of chemicals is hydrogen peroxide and phenyl oxalate ester, plus the fluorescent dye. Glow sticks are encased with a glass vial on the inside and on the outside have a plastic tube. To activate them, you bend the plastic so it breaks the glass, creating a reaction contained safely inside the plastic!

http://www.chemistryislife.com/the-chemistry-of-glow-sticks

So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!