Monday, November 21, 2011

A chemical or two


       Xenon was discovered on July 12, 1898 in England by William Ramsay and Morris Travers, just after their discovery of Krypton and Neon. They found it in the residue that was leftover from evaporating components of liquid air, which is air that has been cooled down to a very low temperature. It was named Xenon from the Greek word xenon, meaning “stranger”, or “guest”.

       Xenon has the atomic number of 54, and when it’s pure gas, its density is 5.761 kg/m3 . It is a noble gas, which means it’s immune to most common chemical reactions. It is al
toxic, due to the strong oxidative properties, and if you put it in a gas-filled tube, it emits a blue glow.

     Almost all Xenon compounds contain the atoms Fluorine and Oxygen. The first compound is Halides. This is known as: XeF2, XeF4, and XeF6. Its formed when a mixture of Fluorine and Xenon gas is exposed to ultraviolet light. Another compound is Oxides. They are: Xenon Trioxide, and Xenon Tetroxide. They are both dangerous, as they are both explosive.

       Although Xenon is rare and expensive, it is still has applications.
§  Gas Discharge Lamps- these are used in photographic flashes.
§  Lasers

Medical Applications:
§  Anesthesia- used as a general anesthetic.
§  Neuroprotectant- used for treating brain injuries to remove the damage from oxygen deprivation.
§ Imaging- used to capture images of heart, lungs, and brain. It can also be used to measure blood flow.
Karlie C.

Zirconium- Sound Familiar, December Birthdays?


The name Zirconium derives from the mineral Zircon, from which it is made. Its atomic number is 40, and the abbreviation is Zr. 
It is grayish-white and solid at room temperature, but becomes highly flammable in powder form. It is generally resists corrosion, except in hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, especially with fluorine present. Its melting point is 1855°C and its boiling point is 4371°C.
An isotope is two or more forms of the same element that have the same number of protons but different amounts of neutrons, so they have the same chemical properties but different masses. Zirconium occurring naturally has five isotopes, and three of them are stable. There are 28 artificially formed isotopes of zirconium.
It is not found in nature because it is unstable with water. It can occur in over 140 minerals , but the main source of zirconium is from a silicate mineral called zircon. It is present in S-type stars, the sun, meteorites, and moon rocks.
Zircon is a by-product of titanium and tin mining and processing, and most of it is used in commercial applications rather than being converted to zirconium. Most zirconium metal is produced by reducing Zirconium(IV) chloride with magnesium metal, using the Kroll Process.
Separation of Zr and Hf
Zirconium contains between 1-2.5% of hafnium, which usually isn’t a problem because they are similar metals. The hafnium can be extracted by the liquid-liquid extraction, fractional crystallization, or the fractional distillation methods. 
Most compounds are formed when zirconium is in the form Zr(IV). Compounds in the form of Zr(II) and Zr(III) are very rare.
Oxides, Nitrides, Carbides
Zirconium dioxide is known as zirconia, and it is used as a thermal barrier coating. Zirconium tungstate is unusual, in that it shrinks when heated instead of expanding. Zirconium carbide is used to make drilling tools.
Halides and Pseudo HalidesThere are four common halides: ZrF4 ZrCl4, ZrBr4, and ZrI4. They have polymeric structures and are fairly stable.
Organic Derivatives
Zirconocene dibromide was the first compound, and it was discovered in 1952 by J.M. Birmingham and Geoffrey Wilkinson.
Zircon and related minerals were mentioned in biblical writings, and it wasn’t discovered that zircon contained zirconium until 1789, in Sri Lanka.
About 900,000 tons of zirconium ore was produced in 1995. 
Zirconium Compounds
Because zircon is highly resistant, it can be used in molds for molten metals. It can also be used to make ceramics appear opaque.
Zirconium Metal
Zirconium is used in surgical instruments, but only a small percentage of zircon is converted to zirconium.
Nuclear Applications
Zirconium is used to coat nuclear reactor fuels. It is mainly used in the form of zircaloys.
Space and Aeronautic Industries
Zirconium is used in space parts because it is so resistant to heat. It is also found in sandpaper.
Zirconium in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Cameras
It has been used in PET cameras for sensing molecular antibodies. 
Defunct Applications
It used to be used in a lotion to treat poison ivy, but is no longer used because it can cause bad skin reactions.
It has no known biological role, but it is not very toxic. Some exposure to zirconium can cause irritation.

Morgan C.


Lithium is an alkaline metal and in the same group as sodium. In its solid metal form, it’s very reactive, and usually stored in oil. Lithium has a melting point of 180.54°C, one of the lowest for metals.  It also is very soft; you can cut it with a knife.

It has two isotopes Li-6 and Li-7 that are stable.

It was discovered by Johann Arfvedson in 1817. The name lithium comes from the Greek word lithos, meaning stone. Lithium is produced by passing electric charge through melted lithium chloride. Spodumene is the source mineral that is naturally found in Sweden.

 In industry, lithium is used for making ceramics. It is also used to make fireworks because it flares red when ignited. One of the most common household uses of lithium is in rechargeable batteries.  

Other uses as listed on include:

·      LiOH (lithium hydroxide) is used to make lithium soaps. These soaps are used to manufacture lubricating greases.

·      Lithium niobate is used to make cell phone.

·      Lithium is used to absorb neutrons in nuclear fusion.

·      Lithium can be combined with other metals (usually aluminum, cadmium, copper or manganese) to make airplane parts.

·      Lithium hydroxide and lithium peroxide are used to purify air in submarines and on spacecraft. Lithium peroxide is fantastic as it reacts with carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.

·      Lithium can be used in focal lenses for telescopes and common spectacles.

·      Lithium chloride and lithium bromide are effective desiccant. A desiccant is a substance that keeps something (usually a container) dry by absorbing (or adsorbing) water molecules.

·      Lithium, and its hydrides, are used as high energy additives in rocket propellants.

·      Lithium Carbonate is used as a medicine to treat bi-polar disorder.

In 1936 a man by the name of Charles Grigg decided to make a Lithaited soda. The original name of the product was “Bib-label Lithaited Lemon-Lime Soda”. This was later dubbed “7Up”.  The Lithium was removed from “7up’ over 50 years ago. 
Andrew G. 


History of the element: It was discovered by a British Chemist, Smithson Tennant,  in 1803.  With iridium, it was one of the elements identified as the black residue left when platinum ore is dissolved with aqua regia.   But today it is found during processing of platinum and nickel ores.   The name comes from the Greek word "osme" which means "smell". 

Characteristics:  This element is hard and brittle, even when it is at high temperatures.  It has a bluish white and grey color.  Osmium also has a high melting point  and low pressure in the platinum group.  It is a metal and also can be quite toxic.

Quick note: When it is in a powered form, it will emit tetroxide when it is exposed to the air. When exposed, it has a bad smell and can be very poisonous.

  Isotopes:  There are 5 staple Isotopes with Osmium. 

Compounds:  Compounds can include hydrides.  Another compound is fluorides(OsF6 and OsF8) and chlorides (OsCl3 and OsCl4)  It also will include bromides (OsBr4) , Iodis (OsI and OsI2 ), and Oxides (OsO2 ).

Uses: Osmium is often used to create hard alloys with other metals.  These alloys could be used for fountain pen tips, record player needles, electrical contacts and some few others.  These others also include using OsO4 to find fingerprints and also to stain fatty tissue for microscope slides.  It is used as well for implants like pacemakers. 
Ashley O.  


·       It has approximately the same solubility in water as oxygen gas and is 2.5 times more soluble in water than nitrogen gas.
·       It is colorless, odorless, and nontoxic in solid, liquid, and gas forms.
·       It is inert under most conditions
·       It forms no stable compounds at room temperature
·       Although it is a noble gas, it has the capability of forming some compounds such as argon fluorohydride
                  Argon was the first noble gas to be discovered. It was discovered by Sir William Ramsay in 1894 when he removed all of the oxygen, carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen from a sample of clean air. It was named after a Greek word αργον, which means lazy or inactive one.
Argon has several uses
·       It is used when an inert gas is needed. It is the cheapest alternative to nitrogen.
·       It has low thermal conductivity
·       It has electronic properties such as ionization
·       It is used industrially in high-temperature processes
·       It is used for lighting to prevent filaments from oxidation at high temperature
·       Liquefied argon is used to destroy cancer cells.
Although Argon is non-toxic, it does not satisfy the body’s need for oxygen and is an asphyxiant. It is 25 percent more dense than air, and it is considered highly dangerous when in closed areas. It is also difficult to detect since it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
 Jeremy W.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drugs are a bet with the mind

This is a pumpkin. A happy pumpkin. One full of life and happiness. See the gleam in his eye? See the beautiful orange teeth? Happy I tell you.

The bottom picture is the same pumpkin after just a few days of meth use.

It's sad. Please pumpkins--don't do meth. ;)

 Photo courtesy imgr and reddit.

This ain't no party

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


That is all.

It's in the details.

A little extra credit past the Science Fair is available.

How? Well, You need to research an element. Look at wiki (but don't use anything from it. k? k.) and report briefly on each of the areas it does. Like physical properties and things you think the reader should know. Important stuff. What's it used for, where does it come from? And what compounds is it in? Is there a history with it? Is there a story here? Please include an image or two. Submit this in an attachment on email and I'll be able to put it here on the blog. Have fun with it.

Deadline for this glorious project is on the witching hour of November 28. It's worth up to 10 points.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011


Here's an astounding video taken from the Space Station. It's worth a peek. In fact, make it full screen. Stunning.

Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael König on Vimeo.

an experiment...

Just click on the answer you think is right and it shows the results of the poll!!

No, it doesn't actually show the answer. For that, you'll have to ask. 

Pretty cool.

Make a live audience poll at Poll Everywhere

Monday, November 7, 2011


Extra Credit is available right now!! Hurry!!

How can you get up to 50 points? Participate in the science fair. Commit to the fair by this Friday to be eligible. How? Let me know ASAP.

Links for the details, timeline, and project ideas on the right under General Chemsitry.

Thanks. And have fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sugar Sugar

Biology today built models of macromolecules. It's a pretty cool hands-on deal. and they all did brilliantly. They'll understand the picture if the casual observer won't. Awesome--all of you!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just keep swimming

I know who you are. You come and feed the fish. In fact, you're the only one who noticed that some had died off. They're all back. Happy and healthy because you of you.

When I was younger my father's friend had a swimming pool converted to house koi (like the one in the picture). He'd pay me to clean the pool. And that meant climbing in and scrubbing the sides and the bottom of the large swimming pool. Green with algae, and smelling of fish food, I'd scrub and scrub and scrub some more. The fish were very friendly though and always seemed to try and help.

It even started a little side business for my dad [no, me cleaning (though I think he contemplated that more than once); we made and installed koi pond fish filters. then somehow we ended up storing a large container of fish food. But those are stories for another time.

Thanks for visiting and thank you so much for feeding my fish.