Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Chemistry of Contact Lenses

For objects that essentially look like thin plastic films, there’s a surprising amount of chemistry behind contact lenses. This chemistry is designed to maximise comfort whilst they are being worn, and as such it’s also been constantly evolving and improving. Today’s post takes a look at some of the chemicals they have been composed of […]

Categories
Environmental Chemistry Materials Chemistry

The Recycling Rates of Smartphone Metals

Regular readers will spot that today’s post is a bit of a twist on an old post from the site’s archives, which looked at the elements present in a smartphone and the roles that they play. In this updated version, I wanted to highlight which elements in your smartphone will actually get recycled at the end […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Elemental Compositions of Metal Alloys

Today’s post looks at an aspect of chemistry we come across every day: alloys. Alloys make up parts of buildings, transport, coins, and plenty of other objects in our daily lives. But what are the different alloys we use made up of, and why do we use them instead of elemental metals? The graphic answers the […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

Graphene: The Carbon-Based ‘Wonder Material’

You may not have been aware, but this week is Graphene Week 2015, which marks a yearly week-long conference at the University of Manchester based around the emerging science and technological applications of graphene. This seemed as good a time as any to take a look at graphene: what it is, why some scientists are excited […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

A Guide to Common Household Plastics

Plastic is everywhere in our day to day lives – but, of course, ‘plastic’ is just a catch-all term for a range of different chemical substances. This graphic takes a look at some of the more common plastics we encounter on a regular basis, and examines their chemical structures. Below, we’ll also talk a little about […]

Categories
Inorganic Chemistry Materials Chemistry

The Chemistry of Matches

After fielding questions from students about what chemicals are in matches this week, it seemed like a good topic for a post looking at the question in more detail. When using matches on a day-to-day basis, you probably don’t think much of the chemical composition, or the reactions that are being set off; this graphic takes […]