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Chemistry in Everyday Life

Updated on May 20, 2012

Rusting Of Iron And Metals Is Everyday Chemistry

A rusted (and dirt-encrusted) bolt product of slow rusting caused by severe oxidation in the presence of air and moisture.
A rusted (and dirt-encrusted) bolt product of slow rusting caused by severe oxidation in the presence of air and moisture. | Source

We tend to imagine that chemistry is all that has to do in the laboratory where chemicals are measured by laboratory equipments and used to carry out experiments in the form of chemical reactions. But the actual nature of chemistry goes beyond what is restricted to chemistry lab!

Although chemistry is an action that takes place in almost everything we see around us, simplicity is of the opinion that we dodge the complexity of biochemical processes for what is as common as washing our clothes with soap and detergent. Here, stains on our clothes are usually organic and inorganic so that only water may not be sufficient enough to remove them. Even those stains that are inorganic might not be removed by only water as there is the possibility of a strong polar bond between some constituents of the cloth and the stain.

Rusting of nails, making of palm wine or beer, rotting of plants and animals, lighting of matches, burning of firewood and paper, lighting matches, making margarines from vegetable oil, polymerization ( like in plastic polymers); are some examples of chemistry in everyday life.

There Is Chemistry In A Glass Of Beer

Beer is rampant, but what is not popular is the chemistry involve in the brewing process. One essential stage is the formation of alcohol by the fermentation of glucose to ethanol.
Beer is rampant, but what is not popular is the chemistry involve in the brewing process. One essential stage is the formation of alcohol by the fermentation of glucose to ethanol. | Source

Chemistry in food cooking

Domestic cooking is the most common but unconcious chemical reaction process. It is the chemistry that is reponsible for an individual being a good cook, and the other, a bad cook. A professional cook would add specific quantities of each of the cooking ingredient at specific time and stages to bring out a taste that is appealing to the taste bud.

Salt (sodium chloride), NaCl; water, H2O; vegetable oil; meat; fish; are all chemicals! Whereas, salt is a simple chemical that has direct relationship with the chemistry lab, meat is a rather complex structure made up of simple chemical building blocks that are traceable to calcium, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen, e.t.c.

Cooking ingredients are reactants that are mixed together to form a delicious recipe which is the product of the reaction. Like so may laboratory chemical reactions, heat is usually used to supply the energy required for cooking reactions.

There are situations where catalysts might be required for food cooking reactions! Certain white cowpeas (beans) are harder and difficult to cook than others, so that in some cultures, six inches nails are usually placed inside cooking pots when boiling beans. This is believed to reduce the time required for the beans to soften.

Another catalyst used in cooking beans is potash. Although the nails can be removed from the pot when the beans is soften, potash will dissolve in the food so that it affects the taste, colour and texture of the food. It also becomes an unnecessary emulsifier!

Chemistry In Food Preparation

Ddeokbokki is a Korean dish prepared from sautéed rice cakes with vegetables and pork. The ingredients (reactants) are carefully combined (chemically) in the presence of heat (thermal energy) to form the tasty food (product).
Ddeokbokki is a Korean dish prepared from sautéed rice cakes with vegetables and pork. The ingredients (reactants) are carefully combined (chemically) in the presence of heat (thermal energy) to form the tasty food (product). | Source

Chemistry in Burning firewood

Wood is chiefly made up of cellulose and Cellulose is made up of glucose (L-Glucose) building blocks. And the chemical formula of glucose shows that it is composed of six carbon atoms, twelve hydrogen atoms and six oxygen atoms so that the burning (combustion) of wood or its dehydration in the presence of concentrated tetraoxosulphate(VI) acid may lead to the formation of wood charcoal which is an amorphous carbon.

Chemistry in making palm wine or beer

Both the formation of palmwine and the brewing of beer involves fermentation. Whereas, the brewing of beer is largely a deliberate process to form alcoholic drink, palmwine is a natural process that involves two stages:

  1. The formation of ethanol by yeast fermentation of the sugar constituents of the sweet palmwine sap to ethanol and
  2. The bacterial oxidation of ethanol to ethanoic acid.

Although standard preparation procedures that involves adhering to the incubation temperature necessary for yeast fermentation in beer making is required just as in laboratory reaction condition, the condition for wild yeast fermentation or the oxidative action of the bacteria is not regulated, as such the reaction could take place at room temperature and temperatures that hovers around room temperature.

Rotting or decomposition of plants and animals

Death and decay of plants (like the rotting of leaves) and animals are an everyday chemical reactions. Smell is the most sensitive way of detecting a decomposing organism. But beyond the irritating or offensive odour emanating from a dead organism are an array of chemicals.

Carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oil; are broken down to organic acids like lactic acid and propionic acid, as well as gases such as methane, hydrogen sulphide, carbon(IV) oxide (carbon dioxide) and ammonia.

Hydrogen sulphide is known for its rotten egg smell so that the evolution of the gases contributes to the bad odour oozing out of decomposing substances.

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    • Chemistry Book profile image
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      Chemistry Book 5 years ago

      You're right rahul0324! One of the most fascinating thing is the chemistry involve in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and other signal transduction mechanisms. Also, Bioenergetics is miraculous in how changes in entropy and free energy at a range of physiological enthropy are responsible for energy accumulation or usage in biological systems as against extreme conditions in machines.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      If we look more scientifically into it... Each substance on this earth has a level of Entropy... each atom to each man... collectively everything in this universe is chemistry.

      Every event is a chemical reaction... may it be the Big Bang or the Cooking of tea...or the digestion of food!

      Great write!