Chlorine

Chlorine’s great importance and versatility makes it quite the chlorified chemical.

  • Chlorine is a fundamental element of chemistry denoted by the atomic symbol ‘Cl’ and the number 17.
  • Out of the world’s most common crust elements, chlorine is listed as number twenty-one, but it generally exists in an impure form, such as in common salt.
  • At 0°C (32°F) and 100 kPa of pressure, chlorine can be found in a gaseous form, and the gas is a green-yellow colour, while the liquid form tends to be more yellow in colour.
  • Although part of the common salt compound (sodium chloride) was commonly used by ancient civilisations, chloride in its pure gaseous form was first known in 1630 by Jan van Helmot, a chemist from the Southern Netherlands, however this finding was originally considered unimportant.
  • The chemist most commonly credited with the discovery of chlorine is Carl Wilhelm Scheele from Sweden, in 1774, however he suggested the chemical was a compound (with multiple individual elements) rather than an element itself.
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Liquid Chlorine
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • Chlorine as an element is typically extracted from brine, sodium chloride (common salt) dissolved in water, using an electric current.
  • It was only in 1809, that newly published results of an experiment speculated that chlorine was its own element, as observed by the French chemists Joseph Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thēnard; and the element was later isolated and named in 1810 as ‘khlōros’, a Greek word referring to the colour green, by Humphry Davy, a chemist from England, and he changed this term soon after, to the one we use today.
  • Chlorine is commonly used for disinfectants, especially for pools; to purify water for drinking; and to create dyes, plastics, insecticides, and house cleaning chemicals like bleach, among others.
  • Around the 1830s, various compounds were created using chlorine, to remove the smell of dead flesh in hospitals.
  • Chlorine was used by the Germans during World War I, as a lethal gas that damaged respiratory organs, eyesight and skin.
Bibliography:
Blaszczak-Boxe A, Facts About Chlorine, 2014, Live Science, http://www.livescience.com/28988-chlorine.html
Chlorine, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine
Chlorine – Cl, 2016, Lenntech, http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/elements/cl.htm

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Titanium

Titanium is one of those elements we all take for granted.

  • Titanium is a chemical element and metal, denoted by the atomic symbol ‘Ti’ and the atomic number 22.
  • Titanium is of a white to silver or grey colour and is shiny and metallic in appearance.
  • Titanium occurs naturally in mineral deposits, sediment, and rocks, especially igneous rocks, and is commonly retrieved from ilmenite, anatase, and rutile, and can be found in stars, meteorites, and living forms, including animals and plants, as well as water.
  • It is notable that titanium is very lightweight in comparison to its durability and strength, however if heated to above 430°C (806°F), it will weaken, and at 1668°C (3034.4°F), it will melt.
  • A variety of other metals can be alloyed with titanium to viably increase strength with little weight increase, making the metal very versatile.
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Titanium Crystal Bar
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • Typically, titanium is extracted into a sponge-like form, which is them melted and fabricated into a usable resource.
  • The majority of titanium that is collected is used to produce titanium dioxide, which provides the white colour in many plastics, paper, paints and toothpaste; while the metal is sometimes used to strengthen sporting equipment, and it is also used in some forms of jewellery, automobiles, aircraft, watercraft and spacecraft, electronic devices, propellers for water use and missiles, among others.
  • Titanium has a high resistance against corrosion in both the air and water, though small particles of the metal are highly combustible, and when exposed to air, or the particles form a cloud of dust, they can spontaneously combust; and the metal also reacts easily to chlorine gas, liquid oxygen and heat, sometimes causing the chemical to explode.
  • Titanium was discovered by Englishman William Gregor, an amateur mineralogist, who discovered a strange sand with magnetic properties in 1791, which on analysis, was made of iron oxide and what was later determined as titanium oxide.
  • ‘Titanium’ is named after the twelve giant sons of Gaia and Uranus, the Greek mythology deities of earth and sky respectively, who were called ‘Titans’ and were renown for their strength.
Bibliography:
The Element Titanium, n.d, Jefferson Lab, http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele022.html
Titanium, 2016, Los Alamos National Laboratory, http://periodic.lanl.gov/22.shtml
Titanium, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium

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Sulfur

Don’t lose your senses under the smell of sulfur!

  • Sulfur is an element that is part of the periodic table, scientifically notated as ‘S’, while 16 is its atomic number.
  • The cosmos’ tenth most common element is sulfur, which can be found naturally in stars of massive size, in meteorites, and in volcanic gases.
  • Sulfur, also known and spelled as ‘sulphur’, is coloured yellow in its purist form; though it changes to a red coloured liquid upon reaching a heat of approximately 200° Celsius (392° Fahrenheit).
  • Originally, sulfur was mined in a somewhat pure form or extracted from pyrite, however in modern times the element is extracted from fossil fuels such as petroleum.
  • The identification and use of sulfur has been present throughout many ancient civilisations, including Egypt, India, Greece and China, and the element was often used for primitive medical purposes.
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Volcanic Sulfur
Image courtesy of James St. John/Flickr
  • Fertilisers, pesticides, cellophane, paper bleach, rayon, detergents, as well as preservatives purposed for dried fruit, all often make use of sulfur.
  • Sulfur is relatively safe for humans in its elemental form, however when combined with other elements, it can cause harm through breathing it in a gas form, or on contact with skin.
  • Compounds with strong smells, typically those unpleasant, generally consist of sulfur; including the odour of rotten eggs, the spray of skunks, and garlic.
  • Sulfur melts at 388.36 Kelvin (115.21° Celsius or 239.38° Fahrenheit); boils at 717.8 Kelvin (444.6° Celsius or ​832.3° Fahrenheit); and produces a flame of a blue colour.
  • Sulfur has been used as an ingredient in multiple medicines, particularly those to cure skin diseases, due to the element’s ability to kill bacteria.
Bibliography:
The Element Sulfur, n.d, Jefferson Lab, http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/ele016.html
Sulfur, 2015, Los Alamos, http://periodic.lanl.gov/16.shtml
Sulfur, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur

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Lead

Lead is a very versatile material – it’s a pity it is so dangerous.

  • Lead is a metal chemical element of the carbon section in the periodic table, and it is a post transition, or poor, metal.
  • Lead is known under the Pb symbol on the periodic table, and it has the atomic number, or number of protons, of 82 and a standard atomic weight or relative atomic mass of 207.2.
  • When left open to the air, lead changes from a shiny blue-silver colour, to a dull grey, and it is a shiny silver colour when liquefied.
  • Lead is a very heavy but soft and pliable material, commonly used to block radiation, and it is also found in bullets, alloys, certain batteries, as well as traditionally in fishing sinkers, and is used in the building industry.
  • The natural formation of lead is generally caused by the breaking down of elements that are heaver, and it is most commonly found in the mineral galena, from which it is extracted.

Lead, Trivia, Element, Facts, Random Ten, Shiny, Material

  • Lead has been used as a material since 6000 BC, however the Ancient Romans were the first to use the material extensively, especially in pipes for plumbing purposes.
  • Lead is extremely toxic on entering the human body, affecting many organs negatively, and can even cause fatalities.
  • Lead in soil can be neutralised by certain fungi, notably Aspergillus versicolor, and some forms of bacteria may also be effective.
  • Lead melts at 600.61 Kelvin (327.46 ° Celsius or 621.43 ° Fahrenheit) and has a solid density of 11.34 grams/centimetres cubed (6.55 ounces/inches cubed) at room temperature.
  • The Latin term for ‘lead’ is ‘plumbum’, which has been used as the root for the English word ‘plumber’, which originally means ‘a worker of lead’, and the periodic table abbreviation is derived from the Latin word for the metal.
Bibliography:
Lead, 2015, Royal Society of Chemistry, http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/82/lead
Lead, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead
Learn About Lead, 2015, United States Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead

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Aluminium

Aluminium or aluminum

  • Aluminium is a widely used, soft, light, durable metal.  It is silvery, gray or white in colour and has a metallic look.
  • Aluminium makes up 8% of the weight of the earth’s crust.
  • Aluminium is generally found combined, in different minerals – over 270 of them.
  • Aluminium is high in heat and electricity conduction.
  • Aluminium doesn’t corrode very easily.

Aluminium Roll, Aluminum, Ten Random Facts

  • Aluminium is hard to extract from ore, like bauxite.
  • Aluminium can be fully recycled without losing any of its qualities.
  • Australia is the one of the major produces of the major aluminium ore, bauxite.
  • In 2005, the global production of aluminium was 3.19 billion kilograms (31.9 million tonnes).
  • Ancient Greek and Romans used aluminium salt to stop bleeding of cuts.
Bibliography:
Aluminium 1 December 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium>

Silver

Silver is pretty, white and shiny.

  • Silver is harder than gold but softer than copper, and is approximately 2.5 on the hardness Mohs Scale.
  • Silver conducts electricity and heat better than any other metal.
  • Silver is one of the only materials that absorbs oxygen, which enables it to rid substances of germs and bacteria.
  • Silver can be beaten into sheets, drawn into threads and modelled.
  • The alloy, mixture of chemical elements, of silver is called electrum.

Silver necklace, Blue Flowers, Ten Random Facts

  • The main producers of silver are currently Peru, Bolivia and Mexico.
  • Silver in its natural state can be found mixed with gold or other ores like copper, zinc or lead, and is rarely found without contaminants.
  • Sterling silver is the mix of 7.5% copper with silver.
  • Silver was popularly used in many ancient coins, and is now used in medical equipment, some medicines, jewellery, silverware, medals and in the photography industry.
  • Silver is currently worth $32.13 Australian dollars per ounce.
Bibliography:
Blackwood, A 1979, Gold and Silver, Wayland Publishers Limited, England
Silver 20 November 2012, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver>
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