Chemistry in Everyday Life
Chemistry is a big part of your everyday life. You find chemistry in daily life in the foods you eat, the air you breathe, your soap, your emotions and literally every object you can see or touch. Here's a look at some everyday chemistry. Elements in the Human Body
Your body is made up of chemical compounds, which are combinations of elements. While you probably know your body is mostly water, which is hydrogen and oxygen. Most of the human body is made up of water, H2O, with cells consisting of 65-90% water by weight. Therefore, it isn't surprising that most of a human body's mass is oxygen. Carbon, the basic unit for organic molecules, comes in second. 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of just six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Chemistry of Love
The emotions that you feel are a result of chemical messengers, primarily neurotransmitters. Love, jealousy, envy, infatuation and infidelity all share a basis in chemistry. I don't think there are any magic love potions that you can use to make someone fall in love, but chemistry does play an important role in how a relationship progresses. First, there's attraction. Nonverbal communication plays a big part in initial attraction and some of this communication may involve pheromones, a form of chemical communication. Did you know that raw lust is characterized by high levels of testosterone? The sweaty palms and pounding heart of infatuation are caused by higher than normal levels of norepinephrine. Meanwhile, the 'high' of being in love is due to a rush of phenyl ethylamine and dopamine. All is not lost once the honeymoon is over. Lasting love confers chemical benefits in the form of stabilized production of serotonin and oxytocin. Can infidelity be blamed on chemistry? Perhaps in part. Researchers have found that suppression of vasopressin can cause males (voles, anyway) to abandon their love nest and seek new mates. Hey, you got to have chemistry!
Why Onions Make You Cry
Unless you've avoided cooking, you've probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning and tearing you get from the vapours. When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfonic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfonic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulphur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away. Cooking the onion inactivates the enzyme, so while the smell of cooked onions may be strong, it doesn't burn your eyes. Aside from wearing safety goggles or running a fan, you can keep from crying by refrigerating your onion before cutting it (slows reactions and changes the chemistry inside the onion) or by cutting the onion under water. The sulphur-containing compounds also leave a characteristic odor on your fingers. You may be able to remove or reduce some of the smell by wiping your fingers on a stainless steel odour eater.
Why Ice Floats
Can you imagine how different the world around you would be if ice sank? For one thing, lakes would freeze from the bottom. Chemistry holds the explanation for why ice floats, while most substances sink when they freeze. A substance floats if it is less dense, or has less mass per unit volume, than other components in a mixture. For example, if you toss a handful of rocks into a bucket of water, the rocks, which are dense compared to the water, will sink. The water, which is less dense than the rocks, will float. Basically, the rocks push the water out of the way, or displace it. For an object to be able to float, it has to displace a weight of fluid equal to its own weight. Water reaches its maximum density at 4°C (40°F). As it cools further and freezes into ice, it actually becomes less...