hydrocarbons

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What is a nebula? Space and astronomy

By |2018-05-31T11:49:30+00:00August 19th, 2017|Physics|

The Eagle Nebula A nebula is a bunch of atoms and molecules floating in outer space, like a cloud of dust. More than one nebula are called nebulae, because -ae is the plural ending in Latin, just as -s is the plural ending in English. Nebula is the Latin word for a cloud. The earliest nebulae formed just [...]

What is a combustion reaction? Chemistry

By |2018-04-16T23:48:25+00:00June 3rd, 2017|Chemistry|

A candle flame When two molecules bump into each other under the right circumstances, they may exchange electrons in ways that change both molecules into new kinds of molecules. While they're doing that - reacting to each other - they may also release some electrical energy in the form of heat or light. This [...]

Digestion – Oxidation reaction – Chemistry

By |2017-06-03T00:41:56+00:00June 3rd, 2017|Biology, Chemistry|

Kids eating food (thanks to USDA) When animals, including people like you, digest their food, they use an oxidation reaction to break down big hydrocarbon molecules like sugar into different molecules. In order for your cells to break down sugar molecules made of hydrogen and carbon atoms, they have to combine the sugar with oxygen, just [...]

What is plastic? Organic chemistry

By |2018-04-08T11:21:49+00:00June 2nd, 2017|History|

Plastic water bottles There are thousands of different kinds of plastic, from shopping bags to Fisher-Price toys to photographic film, CD's, and plumbing pipes. Some plastics, like chewing gum or rubber, grow as part of plants, but people make most of the different kinds of plastic. We call them "plastics" because they are [...]

What is nitrogen? Atoms, Elements, Chemistry

By |2018-04-24T14:46:22+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

Diagram of a nitrogen atom Inside a red giant star, the star smashes lighter atoms together. Smashing atoms gets the star energy to burn, and also leaves extra heavier atoms. Nitrogen is one of these heavier atoms, left over when a star smashes together carbon atoms. Nitrogen is not very heavy, though, and a [...]

What are hydrocarbons? Simple science – Chemistry

By |2017-06-02T08:24:00+00:00June 2nd, 2017|Chemistry|

A model of a methane molecule Hydrocarbons are molecules made out of hydrogen atoms and carbon atoms. Methane is the simplest hydrocarbon molecule: just one carbon atom with four hydrogen atoms stuck to it. Because both carbon and hydrogen were common in nebulae, hydrocarbon molecules are very common in space. Many of these molecules [...]

Carbon, candles, and cars – Chemistry project

By |2018-04-16T17:38:03+00:00June 1st, 2017|Chemistry|

Candles burn carbon You can see the relationship between carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen easily at home or at school. You'll need a candle. Most candles are either made from paraffin wax or from beeswax. It doesn't matter which you have for this experiment. Light the candle and let it burn for a minute. [...]

What is carbon dioxide? Molecules and Chemistry

By |2017-06-01T13:27:02+00:00June 1st, 2017|Chemistry|

Carbon dioxide is one of the simplest and commonest molecules in the universe. It has only three Atoms - one carbon and two oxygen atoms. It's easy for the carbon atoms to join up with oxygen atoms because the outer shell (the valance shell) of the carbon atom has only four electrons in it, leaving room [...]