NEW! SCH4U Blog #7: Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is the chemical study of organic compounds like hydrocarbons. There are many functional groups of hydrocarbons, from alkanes to amides. One of these functional groups are called amines. Amines contain a nitrogen attached to one or more alkyl chains. There are three types of amines, primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Ways to encourage water to protonate an amine: superbasing.

The purpose of this article is to explore super-basing amines through protonation, the two groups containing chains R=Me3Si and R=CN. The writer found search results on both amines on the Cambridge Structure Database. R=CN did not look promising but R=Me3Si would be created as a super-base with the anion B(C6F5)4. After experimenting the writer formed a thought from their observations saying “Perhaps the basicity of simple amines is related to their ability to form stabilizing water bridges across the ion-pair?” (Rzepa).

This article makes extensive use of amines. In this case they don’t seem to be hydrocarbons but it’s worth mentioning the amines from the course content. As mentioned earlier they are a functional group that contains nitrogen within organic compounds of which the course looked at hydrocarbons. There are primary, secondary, and tertiary amines. Primary is when there is one chain attached to the nitrogen, secondary contains two chains bonded to the nitrogen, and in tertiary there are more than two bonded chains. The naming convention for amines is amino.


NEW! SCH4U Blog #6: Quantum

Quantum numbers describe the orbitals where electrons are found within atoms. There are 4 quantum number: The principal quantum number n describes the energy level of the orbital, the angular momentum quantum number  aka the sub-shell number describes the shape of the orbital (s,p,f, or d), the magnetic quantum number ml describes the orientation of the orbital, and the spin quantum numbers ms describes the spin of the electron within the orbital. Diatomic molecules are molecules consisting of two atoms.

This article seeks to find a way to assign quantum numbers to diatomic molecules. This was partially completed through the application and extension of Hund’s theoretical work on the electronic state of molecules. It was then theorized that the quantum numbers of atoms within a diatomic molecule would be close to that of atoms in a strong electric field. The quantum numbers are then thought to representative of a unified atom when in the notation of (1s)2 (2s)2 for example. The article then brings up the idea of  promoted electrons, bonding power, and the relation between molecular and atomic states.

There are obvious parallels that can be made between this article and the course content. The article had a tonne of discussion on quantum numbers, the article actually revolved around finding solutions to their application toward diatomic particles. What else was prominent was the presence of Hund’s works which was discussed in the course. Hund’s rule was discussed within the course which stated that electrons remain unpaired for as long as possible.

Blog #5 Careers in Chemistry

Chemical engineers explore all different aspects of chemistry to design equipment specialized in industries like plastics, pharmaceuticals, and food processing, etc. There’s a diverse amount of paths for chemical engineers. William Francis Giauque was a Canadian born American who won a Nobel prize for his research on the third law of thermodynamics being a natural law.

Chemical engineers research, design and develop chemical processes and equipment, and oversee the operational stability of plants in various industries. They also can perform other duties like quality control and environmental protection. There is a very diverse pool of specialization in this career from adhesives to water treatment. The amount of jobs in chemical engineering in Canada is expected to grow in the next few years. There is a high number of immigrants to Canada in the Canadian labour pool for chemical engineering. Most chemical engineers work in the manufacturing sector, and in professional, scientific, and technical services. A University degree is typically required to enter this occupation and having a master’s or PhD will raise chances of employment.

I personally have interest in pursuing an engineering degree in university but I’m not sure about what I’ll do after that, because of this I found it helpful to find all this information on chemical engineering seeing as it’s a possible career choice for me.

I think the largest issue I found in this article would be the gender gap in chemical engineering. In 1991 only 10% of chemical engineers were female which has risen significantly to 23% in 2006. 23% is still a very low percentage of females in this field.

If you were to pursue a career in chemical engineering what industry would you want to work in and what role would you fill?

Blog #4 Solutions and Solubility

Drinking water is essential for human and many animals alike. However some people living in developing countries don’t have access to clean drinking water. The contaminated water may contain heavy metals in aqueous form such as lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. These metals can be contained in different concentrations of varying danger to health.

Contaminated water can contain untreated waste, industrial refuse, pesticides, heavy metals, and pathogenic microbes. Some of the issues affecting people forcing them to drink dirty water are: Inadequate access to clean water, a lack of a reliable water supply, lack of knowledge, poverty, conflict, war, and disaster, cultural and lifestyle issue, a competitive use of the water, and finally climate change.

There were some facts that I found interesting in this article, one was that by 2015 there will be at least 17 cities in the developing world with over 10 million population. The fact that there is a competitive use for water and that the fresh water in the world is running out alarmed me because it’s something that I never give a second thought in my daily life.

I think the biggest issue here is with the poverty and lack of knowledge that contributes to the issue. It’s very unfortunate that there are countries that lag behind in development and end up paying for it.

If given the chance to travel to developing areas in Africa or South America, and provide labour on clean water projects for a summer would you take it?

Post #3 Quantities in Chemical Reactions

Baking powder is one of the most important ingredients in most forms of baking. It’s also one of the most important to measure accurately. Baking powder is a mixture of a carbonate or bicarbonate and a weak acid. The base in baking powder will react with the acid and water to produce carbon dioxide giving the batter or dough its rising effect. The general representation of this reaction is: NaHCO3 + H+ → Na+ + CO2 + H2O. This is inaccurate though because the reaction is typically much more complicated because of the acids.

Baking powder is typically a mixture of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, an acid like cream or tartar, and cornstarch. Baking powder should be used when baking something like cake where the batter or dough must rise when yeast is not preferable and there is no acid in the ingredients to react with baking soda. One teaspoon of baking powder has 1/4 teaspoons of baking soda. It’s important to measure baking powder accurately as too much will make a cake fall and too little may prevent it from rising at all. To test if baking powder is still good pour 1/3 cup hot water into it, if it bubbles it’s fine.

I bake once in a while so this is important information for me to know if I want to further my education on baking. It’s seems to be very important for a professional baker to be precise with their simple measurements as one single screw up can ruin an batch of something like a wedding cake.

Do you have any baking stories where something went wrong like measuring too much or too little baking powder?

Post #2 Chemical Reactions

To produce pulp a number of chemicals are used including: NaOH, Na2S, Cl2, Cl02, NaClO, O2, and peroxide. Most of the products are chlorides and sulphates of Na, Ca, and some heavy metals. The products are diluted in water, so they are aqueous. One such reaction that may be assumed is NaOH and a molecular compound containing H where one product is water and the element from the molecule as the result of a double displacement reaction.,-india?v=full-content

A test was conducted to test the severity of the chemical content of the effluent from pulp and paper mills. Samples were taken from various distances from the source of output in both the water and the soil. The samples were analyzed for pH levels, electrical conductivity, the total solids (dissolved and suspended), and oxygen demand (biological and chemical). It was found that the levels of Na were higher than prescribed limits, and the concentration of solids decrease with the downstream flow.

The one connection I can make from my life to the paper production industry is the horrible smell from one particular plant in New Brunswick that my family stops at on our way to P.E.I. each summer.

I think that the largest issue at hand here is that the plants are passing regulations on the amount of Na in their effluent, and this is something that the government should be taking a look into.

If the pulp and paper industry is so easily able to get away with crossing their limits with the concentration of their effluents and the government takes no action then what do you think other industries may be able to get away with?

Post #1 Matter & Bonding

N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, often abbreviated as DEET is the main chemical in the most popular form of insect repellent. It’s molecular formula is C12H17NO, and is a yellow oily liquid at room temperature. Another popular chemical repellent is 3-Phenoxybenzyl (1RS)-cis,trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylate, also known as permethrin. Permethrin’s chemical formula is C21H20Cl3O2.

Two of the most popular and most effective chemicals in insect repellent are DEET and permethrin. It’s been found that DEET may cause some health issue when used by children, and when used in large concentration. There are many natural insect repellents that are both green, and safe for humans. Although there are many natural repellents none are as effective as DEET and permethrin. In conclusion when used properly a mixture of DEET and permethrin is the most effective repellent to insects.

I am a camper so I’m familiar with using DEET products as repellent.  I very was interested to learn about all of the natural insect repellents that are available. One part of the article explaining the health issues related to DEET really struck me because there were children who have died because of it. I was also quite interested to learn just how much of it is actually absorbed by your body, it’s said to be somewhere between 5.6%-15%.

An ethical issue that I found within the article is weighing the health benefits and risks caused by using DEET. On one hand DEET was found to cause behavioural changes, seizures, confusion, insomnia, and even death in children and adults who experienced frequent usage. However we benefit greatly by using it because it wards of bugs that include mosquitos (which can carry malaria or other deadly diseases), tick (they carry lime disease), fleas, and chiggers.

Considering the many factors that work both against and for DEET, is there a way to prevent health issues without sacrificing the effectiveness of the product?

Connecting chemistry and the real world