Category Archives: Chemistry

Stanene, conducts electricity at 100% effieciency

A single layer of tin atoms could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at room temperature, a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University said Thursday. When topological insulators are just one atom thick, their edges force electrons to move in defined lanes without any speed limit, said Shoucheng Zhang, team leader and a physics professor at Stanford and the Stanford Institute for … Continue reading

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Hot water freezes faster than cold – and now we know why


Many moons ago Deskarati asked the question ‘Why does hot water freeze quicker than cold‘. We never really got to the bottom of it. But now it looks like we might have an answer – Deskarati. Hot water seems to freeze faster than cold water, known as the Mpemba effect. The effect was named after the Tanzanian student who in 1963 noticed that hot ice cream mix freezes faster than a cold one.  The effect was first observed by Aristotle … Continue reading

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How the Alphon became an outdated concept


What’s an alphon? Nothing whatsoever. But at one time, they might have been the thing that provide the basic building block of all chemistry. Let’s look at the science that might have been. It’s the first half of the twentieth century. Mendeleev has just come out with a basic table of elements that looks like it might, one day, order all the possible known elements known to science. You want to improve it. How do you do that? If you’re … Continue reading

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New device harnesses sun and sewage to produce hydrogen fuel

A novel device that uses only sunlight and wastewater to produce hydrogen gas could provide a sustainable energy source while improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment. A research team led by Yat Li, associate professor of chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz, developed the solar-microbial device and reported their results in a paper published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. The hybrid device combines a microbial fuel cell (MFC) and a type of solar cell called … Continue reading

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel

chemistry nobel winners

Chemists used to create models of molecules using plastic balls and sticks. Today, the modelling is carried out in computers. In the 1970s, Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel laid the foundation for the powerful programs that are used to understand and predict chemical processes. Computer models mirroring real life have become crucial for most advances made in chemistry today. Chemical reactions occur at lightning speed. In a fraction of a millisecond, electrons jump from one atomic nucleus to … Continue reading

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Delicate oxidation can transform greenhouse gas into useful chemicals


Methane is the main component of natural gas, as well as a potent greenhouse gas whose levels in the atmosphere have been rising. In a new study, scientists have investigated a way to transform methane into more valuable and useful chemicals by partially oxidizing methane in a “delicate” way—that is, at low temperatures, low pressures, and by controlled means. This ability requires understanding how the catalytic activity of nanoparticles can be controlled and manipulated, which is currently a major challenge … Continue reading

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Researchers identify endocrine-disrupting chemical in bottled water

A team of researchers in Germany has identified an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) found in samples taken from commercial bottled water. In their paper published in PLoS ONE, the team describes the methods they used to isolate the EDC found in the water samples. EDCs (man-made compounds used in many plastics) have been found to interfere with hormonal systems in several types of organisms—particularly in reproductive and development activities. They have come to light as it has been determined that several … Continue reading

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World’s Thinnest Glass Made By Accident


Researchers accidentally discovered the world’s thinnest sheet of glass, just two atoms thick. Their chance finding — now immortalized in the 2014 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, out this week — gives scientists a glimpse into the puzzling properties of glass, which behaves like both a solid and a liquid. Researchers at Cornell University and Germany’s University of Ulm were creating graphene, one of the thinnest and strongest materials in the world. Sheets of graphene are just one … Continue reading

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Colloidal gels

A great video showing the remarkable properties inherent to gelatin. Technically speaking, gelatin is neither a solid or a liquid — it’s a colloid gel. Meaning that it’s a liquid suspended in a matrix of solids. Colloidal gels have a very high elastic limit, which is the point were the solid stops bouncing back from a deformed shape without breaking. Via io9

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Chemical Weapons (Sarin Gas)

Here is an interesting video from the guys at Nottingham Uni discussing chemical weapons, including Sarin and Mustard Gas. Featuring professors Rob Stockman and Martyn Poliakoff. – Deskarati

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Physicists use element 115 to highlight a way for taking new superheavy elements’ fingerprints

An international team of researchers presents fresh evidence that confirms the existence of the superheavy chemical element 115. The experiment was conducted at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darmstadt. Under the lead of physicists from Lund University in Sweden, the group, which included researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM), was able to present a way to directly identify new superheavy elements. Elements beyond atomic number … Continue reading

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Evidence for Ununpentium boosted

Scientists have presented new evidence for the existence of a previously unconfirmed element with atomic number 115. Temporarily named Ununpentium. The element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms. First discovered by Russian scientists in 2004, the super-heavy element has yet to be verified by the governing body of chemistry and physics. The new evidence is published in journal Physical Review Letters. “This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most … Continue reading

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Acid, not bubbles, responsible for distinctive ‘bite’ of fizzy drinks

New research from the Monell Center reveals that bubbles are not necessary to experience the unique ‘bite’ of carbonated beverages. Bubbles do, however, enhance carbonation’s bite through the light feel of the bubbles picked up by our sense of touch. The refreshing bite of carbonation is an integral part of beverages consumed around the globe. Carbonated beverages are produced when carbon dioxide is dissolved in a liquid, typically under high pressure. This can happen naturally in certain spring waters or … Continue reading

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Dispensing with the Notion of Elements

Deskarati Video

Here’s a short video just to annoy all my chemistry lovin’ friends – Deskarati

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One chemical forms two colors of crystals

Chemists have unexpectedly made two differently colored crystals – one orange, the other blue – from one chemical in the same flask while studying a special kind of molecular connection called an agostic bond. The discovery, reported in Angewandte Chemie International Edition on July 29, is providing new insights into important industrial chemical reactions such as those that occur while making plastics and fuels. “We were studying agostic bonds in a project to make liquid fuels like methanol from carbon … Continue reading

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Ravishing Rubber

Deskarati Video


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Aluminum or Aluminium?


The name aluminium derives from its status as a base of alum. It is borrowed from Old French; its ultimate source, alumen, in turn is a Latin word that literally means “bitter salt”. The earliest citation given in the Oxford English Dictionary for any word used as a name for this element is alumium, which British chemist and inventor Humphry Davy employed in 1808 for the metal he was trying to isolate electrolytically from the mineral alumina. The citation is … Continue reading

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Tiny tweezers allow precision control of enzymes

The left panel shows tweezers in the open position, with the enzyme (green) on the upper arm and the co-factor (gold) on the lower arm. Supplying a complementary fuel strand causes the tweezers to close, producing the reaction of the enzyme-cofactor pair. (Right panel) while a set strand restores the tweezers to their open position. Credit: The Biodesign Institute/Nature Communications Tweezers are a handy instrument when it comes to removing a splinter or plucking an eyebrow. In new research, Hao … Continue reading

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Solving electron transfer

electron transfer

EPFL scientists have shown how a solvent can interfere with electron transfer by using unprecedented time resolution in ultrafast fluorescence spectroscopy. Electron transfer is a process by which an atom donates an electron to another atom. It is the foundation of all chemical reactions, and is of intense research because of the implications it has for chemistry and biology. When two molecules interact, electron transfer takes place in a few quadrillionths (10-15¬) of a second, or femtoseconds (fsec), meaning that … Continue reading

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NeverWet Arrives


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