Carpet

Carpets can be petted with one’s foot. Probably.

  • Carpet is an invention made of a layer of textiles, that is used to cover a floor.
  • ‘Carpets’ are also known as ‘rugs’, although this term is generally used in reference to movable versions.
  • Generally, carpets are made of a nylon, polyester, wool, acrylic, sisal or polypropylene fibre.
  • Carpets are commonly used for ornamental and decorative purposes, to protect feet from cool floors, for comfort purposes, or to hide floor anomalies.
  • Carpets can be made through weaving, knitting, felting, tufting or hooking, often on a loom, and are made by hand or machine.

Carpet, Invention, Trivia, Ten Random Fats, Rug, White, Cream, Synthetic

  • Cotton, polyester, nylon, or sisal bindings are generally used on a carpet edge to seal the edges, and thus assist in preventing unravelling.
  • The origin of carpets dates from 1000 to 2000 BC or beyond; with the oldest discovered one dating back to 400 to 300 BC, found in 1949 in Siberia, Russia.
  • A machine, known as a ‘power loom’, used to produce carpets, was invented in the 1830s by American, Erastus Bigelow, which immediately increased production.
  • It is typical for a carpet to feature two layers – the top layer of fibres, and a backing affixed to the fibres.
  • If the carpet is to be secured to the floor, a soft underneath layer known as ‘underlay’ is added to enhance its properties and increase its life.
Bibliography:
Carpet, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpet
Carpet History, 2009 Carpet & Rug Pedia, http://www.carpetandrugpedia.com/Carpet-History.htm
Early U.S. Carpet has Woven Wool, n.d, The Carpet and Rug Institute, http://www.carpet-rug.org/About-CRI/History-of-Carpet.aspx

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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.
Sulfur, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Element, Volcanic, Volcano, Specimen, Yellow, Trivia, Sulphur, Ten Random Facts
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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Glass

The facts are reinforced with a nice layer of glass.

  • Glass is a common material popularly used for the construction of an object or a building, and is frequently used to make various types of containers, windows, beads, toy marbles and sculpting.
  • Light can reflect, refract and pass through glass, while the material is also impervious to water, has a slow erosion rate and is resistant to chemicals.
  • Silica is generally used in the making of glass, which is most often derived from sand, and it typically has other chemical additives, most commonly limestone and soda ash, for ease of use, durability, and to improve its properties.
  • Glass-making practices originated in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3500 BC, although material of volcanic origin, mainly obsidian, were utilised prior to this time; while containers made of the material were made from the 1500s BC.
  • Glass is generally transparent, although it can also be opaque, with colourings derived from foreign particles or ions that can include metals and oxides and other compounds, while brown and green colours are the most commonly used.

Glass, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Colour, Clear, Transparency, Material, Assortment

  • The Great Conservatory at Chatsworth, built in the 1830s, in England’s Derbyshire, was among the first buildings to use glass as a major construction material, and along with the 1851 Crystal Palace built in England’s London by the same designer, Joseph Paxton, it contributed to revolutionising the material for construction purposes.
  • The 1800s and 1900s saw the most innovation of glassmaking techniques, including laminating and frosting, along with a comeback of historical methods.
  • To make glass, appropriate materials are melted at extremely high temperatures, refined and then moulded or formed through methods including blowing and pressing.
  • The mass production of glass products increased from the late 1800s onwards, with the introduction of automated bottle and sheet making machinery.
  • As glass is 100% recyclable, it can be recycled over and over, and when it goes through the recycling process, it uses less natural resources and 75% less energy than if it was made from raw materials, and it reduces the quantity of rubbish going to landfill.
Bibliography:
Glass, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass
History of Glass, 2013, British Glass, http://www.britglass.org.uk/history-of-glass
History of Glass, n.d., History of Glass, http://www.historyofglass.com/

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Laminated Glass

So much glass is laminated glass; quite outstanding, really.

  • Laminated glass is a glass that fails to break apart on cracking, a quality that causes the glass to be categorised as a ‘safety glass’.
  • Laminated glass is made of layers of glass, and resin or acetate, generally PVB or EVA, which bond to the glass and hold it together.
  • When cracked, laminated glass typically fractures in rings, a pattern that is comparable to a spider web.
  • Frenchman Édouard Bénédictus, an artist and chemist, invented laminated glass in 1903, after a flask made of glass failed to scatter into pieces across the floor when he accidentally knocked it off a shelf, as it had unintentionally been coated with a plastic film.
  • Commonly, the glass layers of laminated glass are each 2.5 millimetres (0.1 inch) thick, with a 0.38 millimetre (0.01 inch) thick thermoplastic layer situated between the two glass layers, although thicknesses can vary, depending on their application.
Laminated Glass
Slabs of Laminated Glass
Image courtesy of warrenski/Flickr
  • As a general rule, the strength of laminated glass is directly proportionate to the amount or thickness of plastic and glass layers it has.
  • Édouard Bénédictus filed a patent for laminated glass in 1909, and while it was designed for automobile windscreen use, it was not until after it had been used in World War I for gas mask lenses that it became widely accepted for the use of windscreens and was enforced in some circumstances by the 1930s.
  • Laminated glass with small fractures can be fixed through a process of drilling, filling with resin, and curing the resin with ultraviolet light.
  • Laminated glass is most commonly used in windows for both automobiles and buildings, although it has many other applications.
  • As a glass considered excellent for high security purposes, laminated glass is notoriously difficult to cut, is resistant to many weapon types and is unaffected or safe in the case of natural disasters.
Bibliography:
Laminated Glass, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminated_glass
Laminated Safety Glass, n.d, National Glass, http://www.nationalglass.com.au/catalogues/NGP_Section_05.pdf
Safety Glass, 2007, The Great Idea Time, http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/safglass.htm

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Plastic Shopping Bag

Do you understand the harm of plastic shopping bags?

  • Plastic shopping bags are strong cheap plastic bags primarily used to carry groceries or other items bought from retail outlets.
  • ‘Plastic shopping bags’ are called ‘plastic grocery bags’ and ‘carrier bags’, and they are also known by the generic terms ‘bags’, ‘shopping bags’ and ‘plastic bags’.
  • Plastic shopping bags are most commonly made of polyethylene, although bags can be made of bioplastic that originates from vegetable sources and is said to decompose safely when exposed to sunlight and oxygen.
  • Plastic bags were invented after the introduction of polyethylene in the 1930s, and in 1962, engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin of Sweden filed a patent for a one-piece plastic shopping bag with an integrated handle for the Celloplast company, and this style of bag is said to be the basis of most modern designs.
  • Commercially used plastic shopping bags became highly popular worldwide by the 1980s, acting as a replacement to paper bags which were originally used for purchased goods.

Plastic Shopping Bag, Grey, Grocery, Target, Just Jeans, Ten Random Facts, Trivia, Inventions, Handle, Assorted

  • The cited number of plastic bags produced worldwide varies by source, with suggestions of 500 to 1,000 billion per year, with over 100 billion used in the United States in 2009 and approximately 13 billion used in the United Kingdom in 2008.
  • Plastic shopping bags come in a wide variety of colours, made with the addition of different chemicals, and common colours include white, and grey, while words, logos, and other designs are often printed on the bags.
  • Plastic shopping bags generally take a hundred years or more to breakdown, and therefore are significant polluters of the environment, killing thousands of marine wildlife yearly, and even causing drain blockages that cause flooding, especially in poor countries.
  • Caution should be taken with plastic shopping bags, as they can cause suffocation in children, especially those of a young age, and warning information has been in place on some types of bags in some countries since 1959.
  • Stores, nations and even countries like China, Rwanda and Bangladesh, have been banning, limiting or discouraging the use of plastic shopping bags for environmental reasons, including the large quantities of resources required to create the bags in the first place.
Bibliography:
Keller A, History of the Plastic Bag, 2011, Bag Monster, http://www.bagmonster.com/2011/05/history-of-the-plastic-bag.html
Plastic Shopping Bag, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_shopping_bag
Polythene’s story: The accidental birth of plastic bags, 2008, The Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/polythenes-story-the-accidental-birth-of-plastic-bags-800602.html

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