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Introduction to Chemistry

Chemistry Lab

Do you wonder what chemistry is or why you would want to study it? Take a look at answers to some basic questions about chemistry.

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Chemistry Spotlight10

Is It Safe to Reboil Water?

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Reboiling water may be bad for your health. (Markus Schweiss)You may have heard that is is unhealthy to reboil water or even to boil it away when cooking. Unless your water is exceedingly pure, reboiling water drives off the gases dissolved in the water and evaporates away some of the water, concentrating minerals and contaminants. There are two safety concerns with reboiling water. The first is that reboiling water increases the chance you'll get burned. With the gas bubbles removed, reboiling water can cause it to superheat and suddenly splash out when disturbed. The other safety issue concerns the chemical composition of reboiled water. Is it unhealthy? Find out more

Grow a Cup-o-Crystals

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Cup-o-Crystals (Anne Helmenstine)From my list of quick crystal projects, here's a favorite. This one takes a minute to set up, yielding a mass of needle-like crystals after about three hours in your refrigerator. All you need is a cup or small, narrow bowl, epsom salts, and water. Grow Crystals in a Cup...

Darvaza Gas Crater - Extremely Cool Fire Tourist Attraction

Tuesday April 22, 2014
Darvaza Gas Crater (Getty Images)

Have you heard of the Darvaza Gas Crater or The Burning Gate to Hell? It is a massive burning crater that resulted from a natural gas accident that occurred in either the 1950s or else 1971, depending on who tells the tale. The drilling rig fell into a natural cavern, which was set alight. It still burns today. I don't see myself planning a vacation to the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan anytime soon, but if I went there, I would be sure to check this out. Photos of the Darvaza Crater are stunning. There are also some YouTube videos of the so-called "Door to Hell" out there. Pretty cool, don't you think?

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday April 22, 2014
Happy Earth Day! The purpose of the day is to inspire appreciation for the earth's environment and awareness of issues that threaten it. With that in mind, here's a look at some environment-related chemistry. I selected features that focus on cool features of the environment, like snowflakes and changing leaves, as well as issues, such as the greenhouse effect and fluoridation of drinking water.Photo: NASA image, featured on the unofficial Earth Day flag.

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