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 […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Chemistry of a Football Shirt

With the new season of the Premier League kicking off this weekend, it seemed a good time to take a look at the chemicals that make up your average football shirt. Even if the start of a new football season isn’t the kind of event to fill you with excitement, it’s still intriguing from a chemistry […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Myriad Uses of Stronger Than Steel Kevlar

You’ve probably read of the recent death of Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who discovered Kevlar. Most people have almost certainly heard of Kevlar, in the context of bullet-proof vests, but fewer are probably aware of the vast range of applications it has, or the chemical reasons behind its strength.

Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Chemistry of the World Cup Football

A number of chemical materials are used in the manufacture of the Brazuca, the World Cup football. The majority of these materials are polymers; these are very long molecules built up from many smaller component molecules. A simple, everyday example is polyethene, used to make some plastic bags. Different classes of polymers are used to […]

Categories
Materials Chemistry

The Metals in UK Coins

In the wake of the recent announcement of a new £1 coin to be introduced in 2017, today’s post looks at some of the metals present in the coins of the United Kingdom. All of these coins are produced using alloys, or mixtures of metals; the main metals used include copper, nickel, zinc and iron. […]