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Questions tagged [everyday-chemistry]

Applications of chemistry to reagents, reactions and processes of everyday life. Use this tag for question on chemistry in an out-of-laboratory/class context. DO NOT use this tag merely because the question is about simple chemistry.

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3answers
73k views

Chemistry behind Gale's coffee maker in Breaking Bad

Is there a scientific basis for the coffee making equipment which Gale Boetticher describes in Breaking Bad? He talks about maintaining the right conditions for bringing out the coffee flavor without ...
79
votes
5answers
81k views

Does water really 'go bad' after a couple of days?

Among my friends it is a sort of 'common wisdom' that you should throw away water after a couple of days if it was taken from the tap and stored in a bottle outside the fridge, because it has 'gone ...
62
votes
1answer
7k views

Why does shaking a match put the fire out?

Move a match slowly and nothing happens but if you shake it violently the fire will extinguish. Oxygen makes fire grow so why does waving a flame through the oxygen rich air put the fire out? Does ...
18
votes
6answers
27k views

Why can't rust form without water?

Shouldn't iron oxide be able to form without water? It is just iron and oxygen. I don't really understand what the dot followed by the $\ce{H2O}$ means either. I was reading on wikipedia, but I have a ...
18
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2answers
14k views

Why doesn't HCl form when you dissolve NaCl in water?

People say it dissolves, but shouldn't the acid form? $$ \ce{NaCl + H2O ->[?] HCl + ???} $$
20
votes
2answers
6k views

Chemical compounds responsible for the colors in flowers?

I know that anthocyanins are a class of compounds responsible for the purple colors found in flower petals. Anthocyanins (also anthocyans; from Greek: ἀνθός (anthos) = flower + κυανός (kyanos) = ...
13
votes
3answers
71k views

What makes Coke acidic?

What makes Coke and other soft drinks acidic? These drinks are carbonated, so a freshly-opened can should have a lot of dissolved carbonic acid, but the ingredients also lists phosphoric acid. Would ...
20
votes
1answer
27k views

How does adding lemon juice to sugar make better caramel?

It's a common cooking advice: if you want a somewhat softer caramel, add some lemon juice to the sugar: To help prevent the caramel from crystallizing, you can add an acid to the sugar before you ...
18
votes
2answers
431 views

Can molecules diffuse upstream when emptying a cup of tea?

I was drinking some tea, and I randomly decided to pour some into the toilet in an unbroken stream; can particles travel "upstream" quickly enough to reach the mug of tea? How fast can diffusion occur ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do raisins bob up and down in carbonated water?

Yesterday I preformed a fun little experiment where I poured a glass of seltzer water into a glass, then dropped a few raisins into it. I observed that the raisins would float at the top of the glass ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the smell of a glass of water in contact with fresh air?

When you pour water into a clean glass in a small confined room with no or little fresh air circulation, the only smells you perceive are those of the glass and the water (or the impurities from both ...
1
vote
1answer
213 views

House-hold chemistry experiments for a high-school student [closed]

I want to experiment the things which we learn in chemistry as a twelfth grader.I want to do them at my home but I'm not supplied with enough reactants.What can I do by using such reactants. I tried ...
25
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3answers
20k views

Why does ice cream make soda fizz?

I've noticed that adding a chunk of ice cream to soda makes the soda fizz slightly near the soda-ice cream interface. I thought it was a physical effect due to the temperature, but adding ice has no ...
25
votes
5answers
919 views

Why are smoke odors persistent in fabrics?

Obviously smoke is very complex, but apparently phenol compounds are the main components of wood smoke that produce the characteristic odor. (One of more significant of these compounds seems to be ...
23
votes
1answer
1k views

What is K2O-nSiO2-xH2O?

In need of $\ce{K2SiO3}$ for my cucumber plants, I purchased a bag of potassium silicate. The molecular formula is $\ce{K2O-nSiO2-xH2O}$. Normally, my bags of fertilizer are easy to figure out. For ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the chemical in an alkaline battery make battery leaks unavoidable?

Battery leaks was an issue in the 80s and 90s, and since quality and innovation is constantly improving, I thought battery leak might be slowly going away. But I found that even nowadays, name brand ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Can drinking a lot of water be fatal?

I vaguely recall having heard that drinking too much water can, over time, prove fatal to the human body. Nothing special about the water; not distilled or de-ionized or anything … just plain ol' ...
12
votes
4answers
15k views

How pure NaCl is typical table salt? How is it purified?

How pure $\ce{NaCl}$ is typical table salt? Is it pure enough for research-level experiments in chemistry? How is $\ce{NaCl}$ purified if need to be?
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a chemical reaction which could give off enough heat underwater to cook something?

The mer-people demand cooked food. They don't want to go on land to make it. Is there a chemical reaction they could use which would create enough heat to cook their food underwater in a safe manner?
9
votes
1answer
15k views

Why does lactose-free milk last so much longer than regular milk?

I buy lactose-free milk. The sell-by date is usually as much as eight weeks from the date of purchase, which is in the neighborhood of twice that of regular milk. This seems puzzling; lactose-free ...
7
votes
1answer
798 views

What is the chemical basis for superglues?

There are a variety of different types of glues, some derived from animal or natural materials and some designed by chemists. Some glues need to be activated before they harden and stick (many epoxies,...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Sensitive test for lead in water?

Some of my friends are in Flint and I'm horrified by their situation. I would like to learn how to test for lead independently. After all if you can't trust the state sending them water to test is ...
23
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does my blood taste like rust?

I though it is just me, but when I search in Google it reveals that there are many people who experience this: Why whenever I taste my own blood do I always think it tastes like rust? I have never ...
22
votes
2answers
15k views

Silver and milk (or milk products)

In the title I am refering to silver spoons, which, when used to consume milk products (like yogurt), get a weird taste. It could be described as umami/meaty, a little bit like onions. I came to the ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

What material are heat bags made of?

I just bought a heat bag from store and it has special property. It is made up of transparent plastic bag and transparent unknown liquid inside when sold. There is a tiny circular metal piece in ...
14
votes
1answer
7k views

Using table salt as a way to limit humidity in an unoccupied house

We own a static caravan in the UK (Snowdonia region, so rainy and wet all year round, moderately cold winters) and we leave it unoccupied during Winter (Oct-Feb). We were advised of an apparently ...
14
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1answer
549 views

Why do some materials turn black and others white after combustion?

Most solids objects turn black after they are burnt. But some turn white. Why is that ?
13
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4answers
30k views

Does desalination work?

Does salt vaporise? If I boil salt-water and leave it there until half of the water vaporises, will it be twice as salty as in the beginning? Or exactly the same? Or somewhere in between?
12
votes
3answers
28k views

Does milk drinking prevent long-term chemical poisoning?

I have heard some rumors that drinking milk prevents chemical poisoning. I have done a bit research and some sources confirm that. Corrosive Poisons The best first aid is to dilute the poison ...
11
votes
4answers
20k views

Does water have a smell?

I was washing my cup with hot water (without soap) and upon it nearing my nose, there was some sort of 'smell' (I lack a better word)- However the 'smell' was different compared to when I was ...
10
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the product of a copper and vinegar reaction?

I put a copper wire through a hole in the cap of a water bottle, filled the water bottle ~ half way full with vinegar, and left it over night. The part of the wire inside the bottle that wasn't in ...
9
votes
1answer
206 views

Why does hot oil fry things, but hot water does not?

When a slice of potato is dropped into hot oil, it gets fried but the same in hot water, gets ‘cooked’. What is it about oil that gives the slice of potato the crispy feature while water only makes it ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

What forces hold ink on paper?

On regular paper, ink is absorbed, while on photopaper ink stays at the surface and dries for a longer time. What forces act in these two different cases? (see also related questions about pencil ...
8
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4answers
30k views

How can I separate the vinegar from a 5% white vinegar to make a more concentrated solution.

I was under the impression that if I put a semi full bottle of vinegar in the freezer the water would freeze but the vinegar would not until a lower temp. Therefore I could remove the bottle after ...
8
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3answers
11k views

Chemically removing rust without leaving any unwanted residues

I have this iron pan that got rusty from not being properly dried. Scrubbing it I was able to get rid of most of the rust, but there's still some I just can't remove. I thought I could chemically ...
7
votes
2answers
530 views

How to detect lead paint on a bicycle?

Recently I started renovating a bicycle. The frame has been painted probably over 30 years ago, and despite holding well, big patches of rust are showing. So it's time to give the bike a new paint job....
6
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2answers
1k views

Why is tin (II) fluoride more effective in turning apatite into fluorapatite?

In more powerful toothpastes, like Crest Pro-Health, stannous fluoride is used in place of sodium fluoride. According to Wikipedia: Stannous fluoride converts the calcium mineral apatite into ...
5
votes
1answer
7k views

what is the formula of bleaching powder?

What is the structure and preparation for bleaching powder? Why there is a controversy in the formula of bleaching powder? I have encountered many forms of the formula of bleaching powder, like $\...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How are pencil marks “adhered” to the paper?

Pencils create marks by physical abrasion, leaving behind a trail of solid core material that adheres to a sheet of paper or other surface. Wikipedia Normal paper is mainly composed of cellulose ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How Does The Mordant, Ferric Acetate, Interact With Tannins When Ebonizing Wood?

Ferric Acetate (II) and (III) are "mordants," which intensify wood staining in direct proportion to the tannin concentration in the wood. Some wood stainers add tea to increase the tannin content and ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it dangerous to inhale the steam coming from electrolysis of salt-water solution

Is chlorine in there that accumulates (at the anode) and emerge out as chlorine gas? I was worried since I added a pinch of salt to the steamer in order to hasten the heating of tap water when I ...
2
votes
0answers
332 views

Hazardous materials handled by amateur chemists [closed]

I'm a enthusiastic and devoted amateur chemist (in disguise, I'm actually a mathematician), but lately I've been thinking to what extend it is safe to pursue my hobby. I'm after all an amateur with ...
1
vote
3answers
15k views

C + O2 is equal to C + O, how is that possible

C + O = CO2 . This is because carbon has valency of 4 while oxygen has valency of 2. When they react the valencies are criss crossed which means we will get C2O4 but this is simplified to CO2. But ...
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5answers
1k views

Is crushing an avocado a chemical or physical change? [duplicate]

Applying pressure can result in chemical changes, does this hold true for an avocado?
21
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2answers
2k views

Why do socks stink?

What chemicals are responsible for the stench emanating from socks? If it's just sweat, why don't underwear or vests stink as much? Which gas am I inhaling when smelling socks to decide whether they ...
16
votes
3answers
40k views

What is the difference between hand wash and body wash soap?

I do not like body wash always with strong favor. I like hand wash soap to wash my body. Are they difference at all? Thanks for the comments, so that I add the following information I am really sorry ...
16
votes
3answers
25k views

Why are water droplets shaped like that?

With nothing to do, I stared at the droplets that get condensed on the glass panel of my window. Upon examination, these droplets appear to be in some sorta pattern. There are big droplets as well as ...
16
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2answers
774 views

Why do chalcogens (Group VI) stink so badly?

For more fun with Dr. Derek Lowe, see this for a primer: Things I Won't Work With - Carbon Diselenide. The short of it is that we carbon-based life forms generally like oxygen. However, move just one ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Does bleach turn a substance white or colorless?

From what I understand, bleach works to weaken the ability of a substance to absorb light. Thus this seems to be "whitening" i.e. reflecting all light. In contrast, colorlessness (according to ...
13
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5answers
117k views

How to dissolve candle wax (paraffin)?

Wikipedia states that waxes can be dissolved by non-polar organic solvents. I failed to dissolve candle wax in both acetone and ethanol, which are the only organic solvents I have at home. I have ...