Ngram Chemistry

I was playing around with one of Google's toys and my thoughts turned to chemistry.  I then thought that I'd look to see how each group broke down.  I started with group 1

You can see hydrogen starting in the 1790 after Cavendish realized it was an element.  From this graph we would assume that sodium and potassium were discovered around 1810 and sure enough Davy isolated both of them in 1807.

Group 2

Radium is the interesting one here where we can clearly see its discovery in 1898.

Group 3-Group 12

What I'd like to know is what happened to silver between 1790 and 1810.

Group 13

Look at 1890. The Hall-Héroult process was put into use in about 1890.
Group 14

 Group 17

Rare Earths


I then took the most used element of each group and pitted them against each other as a battle royal of the elements.

Not surprisingly gold, lead, and iron are the top three with first prise going to iron.


Carbonated Fruit

My Mother-in-law gave me a really fun toy awhile ago, an iSi cream whipper.  To use it you place some cream into the container and then screw on a cartridge filled with N2O, shake it up, stick it in the refrigerator, and wait awhile.  While you wait the N2O dissolves into the cream.  You put it in the refrigerator because the solubility of gases in liquids, unlike most solids in liquids, increases as the temperature decreases.  When you pull the trigger the pressure in the container pushes the cream out, when the cream hits ambient pressure the dissolved gas comes out very quickly (like when you open a soda bottle and some of the carbon dioxide comes out of the soda).  This makes the cream become frothy or whipped.  But that's not what this post is about. This post is about carbonated fruit.

The charger is also able to use a CO2 cartridge.  To make the fruit I cut up some grapes (to increase the gas permeable membrane) and used Mandarin oranges.  I placed them in the charger and charged it with one CO2 cartridge.  After about three hours I vented the container with the fruit in it and opened the container.  The fruit was delicious.  It tastes marvelous. The carbonation really tickles the tongue but the fruit is still just as sweet as it ever was.  When we did it again later we added sliced strawberries to the mix and they were great too.

Look at how the carbonation has made them swell.  You  can see the bubbles coming out of the fruit.


What is it?

Here are a few more SEM pictures.

These are from a fly I caught at our house.
A spider fang.  I like how you can see the hole through which it injects the venom.
This is the wispy part of a dandelion seed.  Notice how the shafts are hollow.


Happy Birthday to Me

I recently had my birthday.  My parents sent me some money and I used it to buy something I've wanted for a long time.  I've wanted a thermometer that can be plugged into my computer for a long time.  I have also been gaining an interest in electronics.  I have a simple analog voltmeter but it doesn't do anything else.  So I purchased a multimeter that also has a thermocouple that can plug into my computer via an infrared link.  The infrared link protects my computer from the electronics in the multimeter or the things I attach it to.  I put the thermocouple into a test tube full of water and dropped it into the deep freezer.  I had it sample the temperature every two seconds and recorded the graph below.

Some of the cool things to notice are the supercooling of the water before freezing.  The water cooled to -1.1 degrees before it started to freeze (~1000s) at which point it warmed up to 0.6 degrees as the water released energy as it starts to crystallize (the heat of crystallization for water is ~6 kJ/mol) .   It then cooled to 0 and stayed there for the next 25 minutes until all of the water had frozen and then it began to cool the ice.

Thanks for the great toy Mom and Dad!


Well Loved Books

I love it when I get a chemistry book or a cookbook out of the library and it has spots on the page or there are pieces of pages missing.  It is at that point that I know someone has used and loved the book.  Here are three recent examples.

This is one of the pages I printed from a digital book I have.  It is all about sulfur and I have more pictures at a future date of all the fun things I did with it.

This comes from a book entitled "Things A Boy Can Do With Chemistry"  This page is talking about silicate gardens.  I'm guessing that the yellow blotch is iron silicate.

This is from an old chemistry set that my dad had.  



Our university has a Phenom scanning electron microscope.  I was recently trained on how to use it and so I took some time after being trained to play around and learn more about the instrument.  Below are some of the pictures that I took.  See if you can guess at what they are before reading the labels.

It is a booger.

These are diatoms on the shell of a crab's claw.

This is earwax.

These three are a piece of woven cotton fabric.

These are of one of my fingernail clippings.

A Kim-wipe and a piece of notebook paper.

Gold wire contacting microelectronic pad.
The leg of a pillbug.

A pin head.

This is some of my blood.  I poked myself with the pin from the previous pictures and looked at it.  I think the regular cracking circles might be red blood cells.

Cotton from a Q-tip.

Some broken wood from the shaft of the Q-tip.

If there is anything that you would like to see under the SEM let me know and I'll see what I can do.