Posts Tagged ‘chemistry’


What am I eating?

September 21, 2016


The Chemistry of Chocolate

Read more at C&EN

The comments are worth a look, too.


What am I coloring?

March 2, 2016

This post is for my friend Carol, who is participating in the “Color My World” challenge.


The folks over at Que Interesante created this clever sticker pack for crayons, effectively turning color names into the chemical compounds the correlate with each hue. The sets seem like a fun way to learn for a science-minded family and are available in number of different packs or in bulk for schools.




from Colossal


What is the Navy turning water into?

September 26, 2012

(U.S. Navy Military Sea Lift Command)

No, not wine or grog, but jet fuel, using seawater, and they have a lot of that. . .

Refueling Navy vessels at sea can prove in many ways to be a costly endeavor. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is developing the chemistry for producing jet fuel from renewable resources in theater. The process envisioned would catalytically convert CO2 and H2 directly to liquid hydrocarbon fuel used as JP-5.

“The potential payoff is the ability to produce JP-5 fuel stock at sea reducing the logistics tail on fuel delivery with no environmental burden and increasing the Navy’s energy security and independence,” says research chemist, Dr. Heather Willauer.

How it Works: CO2 + H2 = Jet Fuel

NRL has developed a two-step process in the laboratory to convert the CO2 and H2 gathered from the seawater to liquid hydrocarbons. In the first step, an iron-based catalyst has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production from 97 percent to 25 percent in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins).

In the second step these olefins can be oligomerized (a chemical process that converts monomers, molecules of low molecular weight, to a compound of higher molecular weight by a finite degree of polymerization) into a liquid containing hydrocarbon molecules in the carbon C9-C16 range, suitable for conversion to jet fuel by a nickel-supported catalyst reaction.

Read more at NRL’s site.

Many thanks to HMS Defiant, who is tolerant of my obsession with polymers, for this reference.


What am I sappy cat blogging?

July 20, 2012

Apologies in advance for Chemistry Cat.

More here.


What burner am I celebrating today?

March 31, 2012

March 31 is Bunsen Burner Day – commemorating the birth in 1811 of German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, the inventor (refiner) of the laboratory device that bears his name.

I relate the tale of when I was in college chemistry lab.  We were doing something with hydrochloric acid that involved heating it in a test tube over a – you guessed it – Bunsen burner.  I was working next to a nice fellow whose name I do not remember.  I do remember that the acid in my test tube kept boiling and shooting out of the test tube, showering my lab neighbor with a fine spray of hot hydrochloric acid.  I do remember him saying, “Oh, Oo, Ow.” I do remember apologizing over and over.  I do remember him being very gracious.  I also remember seeing a number of small holes begin to appear in his clothing.  I did not point that out to him.  Anyway, lab neighbor from the past, I am still sorry and hope you have suffered no lasting consequences.

So a salute to Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, who made this laboratory escapade possible.

Flame on!