2606, 2019

What’s your biodegradable coffee cup made of – and how biodegradable is it?

June 26th, 2019|

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Has your local coffee shop recently switched to biodegradable cups? Or maybe your workplace canteen has made the switch to biodegradable cutlery? Perhaps the plastic packaging of your favourite magazine is now a biodegradable wrapper? You might wonder what materials are behind these biodegradable products, and exactly how much better they are for the environment than the materials they’ve replaced. Here, we explore these biodegradable plastics, and how they stack up against conventional ones.

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1911, 2018
  • C&EN – Lightbulbs preview

How do different light bulbs work? – in C&EN

November 19th, 2018|

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Light bulbs come in different shapes, sizes, and types. How do these different types of bulb work? This month’s edition of Periodic Graphics in Chemical & Engineering News sheds some light on the materials different bulbs use and compares their attributes. View the full graphic on the C&EN site.

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2210, 2018
  • Why can leaves cause rail delays_

Why can leaves cause train delays? The chemistry of leaves on the line

October 22nd, 2018|

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Autumn is here, and for most of us, it’s a time of beauty as the leaves cascade through an array of hues before pirouetting down from the trees. If you have to travel by train, however, you might tire of ‘leaves on the line’ being the supposed cause of train delays. It turns out to be more than just a flimsy excuse – and particular chemical reactions are partly to blame.

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1209, 2018
  • Wedding ring metals

What are wedding rings made of, and how do their properties vary?

September 12th, 2018|

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I’m currently at that age where my Facebook news feed is an endless stream of either wedding or baby photos. Most recently, one of my best friends was shopping for wedding rings in advance of their marriage next year, which got me thinking about different wedding ring metals. What elements are they composed of, and how does this influence their properties?

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1008, 2018
  • The chemistry of condoms

The chemistry of condom materials – from sheep guts to synthetic rubber

August 10th, 2018|

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Today, we take contraception for granted to a certain extent. It’s easy to forget that, less than 200 years ago, the only condom available was one made from a length of sheep gut that you had to wash and re-use. Today, they’re made from a handful of different materials. This post looks at their recent material history, and some of the other chemistry modern condoms utilise.

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1507, 2018
  • The chemistry of football shirts WC 2018

The chemistry of a football shirt – World Cup 2018 final edition

July 15th, 2018|

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It’s the World Cup final between France and Croatia today! Here’s an updated version of the chemistry of football shirts post, taking a look at the polymeric materials that make up a shirt.

 

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