The Periodic Table of Edible

I thought this idea was absolutely awesome! After all, what better way to learn about the periodic table than to bake it? (And then eat it!) But the periodic table is much more than just a bunch of color coded boxes, or, in this case, cupcakes. The periodic table shows some valuable information, just by the location of elements.

But…I figured cupcakes, and the chemical reactions behind them, where a little more interesting to think about, especially after thinking about those delicious cupcakes! Cupcakes, as you probably know, use a good amount of sugar! One site writes, “Sugar contains amino acids that start the caramelizing process and release a chemical called aldehyde.” This is why some pastries have a brown-ish color.

Both baking powder and baking soda produce carbon dioxide, or CO2, as they are heated up. This is what makes it lighter, as it creates air pockets within the pastry. Baking powder is the better choice if you have both on hand, as it requires less chemicals to balance out the flavor. Eggs act as a binding agent, and are seen in most baked goods because of this. You can’t exactly eat a cupcake that isn’t holding itself  together! (You’d have a crumbly mess!) Egg whites are made of mostly protein, which then break down once  heat is applied. In addition, they also add an airiness to whatever fluffy edible masterpiece you are making!

The periodic table is important, and, of course, so are baked goods! I would eat Ta and Ra if I could! Which ones would you eat? Comment below!

Jeopardy Jubilee!

Tonight’s final Jeopardy clue was in the category of “The Periodic Table”, 2/5/14.  I immediately said I would have bet it all. I was so ready to go for the clue. Before the clue had even been finished, I hadn’t seen the whole clue, I made my guess. After seeing the rest of the clue, I knew I was right. It was great! 

Here’s the clue: Of the element symbols that don’t match the element’s English name, this element’s symbol is alphabetically 1st.

I got up to Of the element symbols that don’t match the element’s English name, before making my guess. 

Want to know the answer? It’s silver! The chemical symbol is Ag. (Gold is Au, and therefore comes after Ag alphabetically. Ar is most likely next, although that is the symbol for Argon, and doesn’t make sense with the clue) 

Silver’s noble gas configuration is [Kr]5s14d10 The melting point of silver is 961.93°C and the boiling point is 2212°C. Silver is a metal found in group 11 of the periodic table. Silver is [A g]reat (see what I did there) conductor and is often used to make things like solder, electrical contacts and printed circuit boards. One site writes, “Silver is also the best reflector of visible light known, but silver mirrors must be given a protective coating to prevent them from tarnishing.” Silver used to be used to make coins, although copper and other metals are more often used today. Batteries can also be made with silver and zinc. “Sterling silver, an alloy containing 92.5% silver, is used to make silverware, jewelry and other decorative items,” states one article. Most of silver’s salts are toxic, although silver itself is not. This is due to the anions. One site explains, “Exposure to silver (metal and soluble compounds) should not exceed 0.01 mg/M3 (8 hour time-weighted average for a 40 hour week). Silver compounds can be absorbed into the circulatory system, with deposition of reduced silver in body tissues. This may result in argyria, which is characterized by a greyish pigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. Silver is germicidal and may be used to kill many lower organisms without harm to higher organisms.” Basically, don’t get too close to silver compounds or you will develop argyria, which will make you look weird. 

Silver is used in so many things today, and, without it, I would not have gotten the final Jeopardy clue correct tonight. Thank you silver!

Links: 

http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele047.html

http://chemistry.about.com/od/elementfacts/a/silver.htm

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

 

Slushie Steal

Remember those commercials for pillow pets? And then the ones for cuddle-uppets and the hanger that collapses to make more room in your closet? And what about those really big pipe cleaners that you could turn into fuzzy monsters? What were those even called? There are so many infomercials, it’s hard to keep them all straight. The only time I have ever bought one of those products, and it wasn’t from the “But wait, there’s more!” line either, it was at a store where it was being sold for 15 dollars less than on TV. So I wasted a grand total of five dollars on something I could have done at home. That’s right. Slushy Magic.

 (See comercial here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi-3retwNBE)

I know what you’re thinking, but it does actually work. It takes longer than advertised, and there’s a really annoying hole at the top just in case you used soda that spills the liquid everywhere, but it works. I have enjoyed many a slushy with that thing. I had to, I payed for it! But I thought, what is the actual science behind it?

Well, it’s not the “Snowflake science” that’s advertised, nor is it the magic ice cubes that come with it. It’s salt. That’s right! The stuff that you can buy a lifetime supply of in the supermarket, for waaay less than on TV. (But it came with a slushy straw and a drink guide!) Anyway, if you freeze a large quantity of salt mixed with water in a bag, it turns into slush, and doesn’t completely freeze. (You can freeze it overnight, or until it turns a white-ish color.) Then, put that bag inside a larger bag (reccomendation: salt-water in quart size, put into gallon size) but do not unzip or open the bag with the icey slush. Instead, pour in your liquid of choice and seal the. Then shake it, sh-shake it, shake it, sh-shake it, shake it, sh-shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture! 

Salt lowers the melting point of water. To make a slushy, teh drink needs to be really cold, but not cold enought to freeze. Therefore the slat acts like a catalyst. One site explains, ” To make a slushie you want the temperature around the bag of your favorite drink to be lower than 32 degrees so your drink will freeze. When you add salt to the ice cubes you lower the melting point of the ice cubes by several degrees. The ice cubes stay colder, longer – long enough to turn your drink slushie.”

Happy slushie eating!

For more information check out the links below!

Links:

http://www.imcpl.org/kids/blog/?p=9844

http://charliebrownteacher.blogspot.com/2012/05/science-and-slushies.html

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

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!