The Chemistry of Autumn Colours

Lucy Bell-Young

26th September 2018

Chemistry

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Autumn coloured leaves scattered on the ground

Autumn officially began 3 days ago. The days have started getting darker, the wind has got colder and the leaves have started changing colours – and chemistry is here to explain how. Aside from pumpkin-spiced lattés and bonfire nights, the colours of autumn leaves are one of the favourite things about this interim season. The… Continue reading »

Tin Hedgehog Experiment

Lucy Bell-Young

5th September 2018

Chemistry

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Hedgehog walking through fallen leaves

The tin hedgehog experiment is a simple piece of chemistry that involves tin crystals growing on a zinc pellet, transforming it into the likeness of our favourite spiky animal. Chemistry has had an astounding impact on the modern world. Thanks to chemistry, we enjoy things like penicillin, soap and even the screen you’re reading this… Continue reading »

This Day in Chemistry: Joseph Priestley

Lucy Bell-Young

1st August 2018

Chemistry, Science

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Portrait of Joseph Priestley

On this day in 1774, Joseph Priestley first isolated one of the most crucial elements of our time: oxygen. A chemist, philosopher, famous dissenter and eventual expatriate, Priestley provided the scientific work that modern-day chemistry hinges on – but he didn’t necessarily agree with the theories his work facilitated. About Joseph Priestley Born in 1733,… Continue reading »

Sodium Polyacrylate

Lucy Bell-Young

25th July 2018

Chemistry

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A baby diaper section of a Chinese store

What do disposable nappies and fake snow have in common? A superabsorbent and anionic polyelectrolyte polymer! Or, more simply, sodium polyacrylate. This compound is capable of absorbing 800 times its own weight in water and can be found in disposable nappies, fake snow and even astronaut suits. What is Sodium Polyacrylate? Also known as waterlock,… Continue reading »