December 4, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Ethanol

Today’s exciting entry is ethanol: Ethanol is of course the alcohol commonly known as, well, ‘alcohol’. It’s found in whisky, rum, cider, ale, mead, wine, vodka, gin, and so on and so forth. It has an intoxicating effect on most animals including humans and is...

December 3, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Ethanoic Acid

This is ethanoic acid, also known as acetic acid. It’s the part of vinegar that makes it taste and smell of vinegar. I’m rather fond of it, partly because I actually rather like the smell, partly because it’s a ‘weak’ acid that isn’t scary to...

December 2, 2012

Advent Chemistry: TNT

This is trinitrotoluene. It’s an explosive, as I’m sure you know. Pure TNT is yellow and the chap who invented it, one Joseph Wilbrand, used it as a dye. While it gives a powerful explosion it’s quite hard to set off and easy to work...

December 1, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Caffeine

If we’re looking at molecules I like, then there is really only one place to start. This, my friends, is caffeine, a molecule of great importance. Caffeine was discovered in 1819 by Frederick Ferdinand Runge, who named it after its presence in coffee. It is...

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