Chemicals and their study, famously known as chemistry is an integral part of life. We mostly fail to recognize them but everything, from our existence to happenings in and around us, are constituted of chemicals and the reactions between them. It would be very interesting to understand a few things, taking into account that we never have the time or patience to look upon it with this view.
There is nothing without chemistry. One experiences handling chemicals throughout the day by seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and also, touching but don’t give a heed to the science involved in it. Our body is made up of chemical compounds, which are a combination of elements. Our psychological being is the end result of reactions between neurotransmitters. So the emotions we perceive are all chemical reactions of the body to the stimuli received. It may be happy, sad, surprise, love, anger or affection. The salt, commonly taken in food, is Sodium Chloride, NaCl, a chemical compound.
Cutting an onion is one of the primary steps involved in cooking in most part of the world. It is seen to bring tears in our eyes and obviously we never give a second thought to the reason behind it. Nevertheless, in simple terms, on slicing an onion, the cells are cut releasing its contents. One of the compound released forms sulphenic acid. Few enzymes that also get released combine with sulphenic acid to form a gas which moves upward to react with the water of eyes to form sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid is the actual compound which makes the eye shed more tears. Soaps are another important item of utility in our lives. The soaps and detergents act as emulsifying agents to work upon the dirt and result in its removal which means it makes the dirt soluble enough in water to be cleansed off. Medicines are all combinations of chemical compounds developed through intensive research to heal the body through their attachment with either the targeted cells of the body or the foreign element causing the disease.
Every product in the market including packaged drinking water comes with an expiry date, in lieu of the fact that after a specified period of time the item undergoes few chemical reactions within itself which renders it inappropriate for use.
Many industries like health, beauty, forensic science, transport, aviation, food, petro-chemical, refineries, etc couldn’t have existed without the knowledge and research in chemistry.
- Diagnostic tests, genetic studies, medicinal pills, vaccines, antibiotics, birth-control pills, antiseptics, chemotherapy, etc are all unequivocal application of chemistry and imagining health industry to exist without these is impossible.
- Soaps, makeup items, anti wrinkle crèmes, sunscreens, are all unavoidable products used in our daily routine. These are all chemical compounds devised in labs through research, packaged and sold in market to reach the consumers.
- Analyzing and identifying samples from the crime scene forms the basis of forensic science and it is a role played by a forensic chemist with the help of series of methods and instruments involved.
- Chemical sensors are key in the transport industry. Sensors are used to determine fuel ratio, manage the optimum ratio, and measure the oil quality for pollution control. Chemical sensors are also of prime importance in the protection of closed spaces like airplanes, trains, ships, subways and other areas of transit which involves high density of people.
- Aircrafts are made up of chemical compounds light in weight and high in strength, plastic polymers are used to coat the aircraft and its components, fuel for aviation has less contamination, more power and less weight, use of catalytic converter to convert the ozone gas entering into the airplane into lass harmful gases, all are by-products of research in aviation through knowledge in chemistry.
- Foods contain many organic compounds like carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Along with this, vitamins, minerals and water are all chemical compounds which are important constituents of food. Fermentation is a chemical reaction which produces beer, wine, bread, cheese and certain varieties of food. Also, process of cooking, preservation and rotten are all series of chemical reactions understanding of which eases the labor involved and retains the nutrient value of the food. For example, use of pressure cooker in cooking reduces the time involved considerably and also, retains the health quotient. Refrigeration is another aspect of chemistry deeply engrossed in food industry.
Hence, Chemistry is inevitable from anything one does. It helps understand the composition, structure, and changes of matter. Knowing all the above examples, it may be inferred promptly that knowledge of chemistry and understanding its application may help in making many decisions of our daily lives. For example, one can prevent overdose of any chemical compound through diet when one is already taking drugs of that specificity.
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Chemistry studies the properties of matter and energy and how they interact with each other. In fact physics is also defined in the same way. Chemistry and physics are an integral part of physical science. Chemistry specifically studies the properties of the substances and their interactions with different types of matter, especially when they involve electrons.
Importance of chemistry?
By understanding the various aspects of chemistry, you can understand many things about the world around you. You can also understand about how things work and what you can do to solve simple problems related to your home environment. For example, if you have a stain on your white shirt; you can use lime or baking soda to remove the stain. These are some of the chemical formulae or properties that you can apply in your daily life.
There are several other things that are interesting to know like laundry detergent works well in hot water, or you can preserve food using vinegar or by pickling it, or you can store peas by freezing them. So, if you know the basic properties of chemistry, then you can put them to everyday use very easily. For example, instead of buying tooth whiteners, you can simply use sodium bicarbonate and mix some water to make a thick paste. You can use this mixture with your regular toothpaste to whiten your teeth. You can use substances like vinegar, lime juice or soda to remove stains from your clothes. You can use soda mixture to remove stains from the floor.
Chemistry in everyday life
Chemistry is all around you if you notice. Chemical reactions are taking place within our body, and outside in our natural environment all the time. However, we may not know about it unless we study or read about them, and then understand them. Most of the chemical reactions are not visible to our naked eye.
Also read:Math in everyday life
Here is how chemistry is used in everyday life:
The way a plastic wrap protects your food and how it is extracted from polymers is all part of chemistry. In fact, polymers is the next biggest industry to textiles in the United States.
Obesity is such a big problem in the United States, and it is also a result of the chemical reactions taking place inside your body. Or rather, obesity is caused due to the absence of certain chemical reactions. Every single medication that you take when sick is made out of chemicals, and they react chemically inside the body. That is why they are able to cure the illness or disease.
Glass is a simple substance that is actually made using sand, lime and soda ash. There are hundreds of varieties of glass available, and they are all made using different compositions of these substances. Glass is very important as it is used in many places and making objects including, cars, vehicles, microscopes and anything you can think of.
Fermentation that you see in food items is a chemical process. Many day to day products like cheese, butter, milk, yogurt, and hundreds of products made from milk are due to a chemical process. Also, there are several kinds of cheese that can be made from a single chemical reaction.
How is chemistry applied to life ?
Chemistry is basically the study of everyday chemicals that are very much present around us and available, and that which can be applied in real life. These chemicals can be applied in many ways like in the kitchen. The kitchen is the ideal lab where people can experience various chemical reactions and even study them. They need not do anything special. They can simply do what they do in the kitchen everyday and still observe the chemical reactions that occur.
Also read:Science in everyday life
A simple task like boiling of water is a chemical reaction. We all know that water boils at 100 degrees Centigrade. When we boil water everyday, we can observe this.
Tamarind is a simple ingredient used in cooking in several dishes. It gives that extra tangy taste that you are looking for. However, when you cook or store tamarind in aluminum container, it releases certain types of chemicals into foods. When you learn about this, you would avoid cooking tamarind based substances in aluminum vessels, or storing tamarind in an aluminum container. A saturation point is when the water cannot dissolve anymore sugar or salt. This is why food ends up tasting very salty or sweet as it can take in no sugar or salt.
Checking the temperature when we feel feverish using a thermometer is a simple chemical process we do sometimes. The mercury in the thermometer rises if the body temperature is high. When we touch certain chemicals like chlorine we can burn the skin. This is because of the chemical properties of these chemicals that are causing this burning sensation.
Chemistry comes in use for killing pests and rodents at home. When we use naphthalene balls at home we are using a product of chemistry. Many of us use pickling as a method to preserve vegetables. Pickling is a simple chemical process that involves the process of osmosis.
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