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Chemistry

Chemistry is the science of matter and the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions. In this section, learn about everyday chemistry, from chlorine beach to helium, and even why chocolate turns gray.

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4 Facts About Phosphate, the Chemical Compound That's Everywhere

You might wonder what phosphates do, but they are so intrinsic to our daily lives that the question really is: What don't phosphates do?

Tungsten's Boiling Point Is 10,030 F and Other Crazy Facts

Tungsten's hardness and heat resistance make it a must for products like rocket engine nozzles, armor-piercing bullets and even the humble light bulb filament. In fact, pure tungsten boils at 10,030 F, the same as the photosphere of the sun.

What Are Terpenes and Can They Benefit Your Health?

Terpenes are the aromatic organic compounds found in nature that give us many of our favorite fragrances. They are also known to have surprising health benefits.

What's the Difference Between Pyrite and Gold?

Don't know your fool's gold from the real deal? We'll tell you how to tell what's pyrite (aka fool's gold) and the good ol' 24 karat stuff you want.

Esters Give Your Beer That Weird, Tangy Taste You Like

There's some serious chemistry behind the flavor in your favorite brew and esters are the compounds responsible for it.

What's the Difference Between Ethyl Alcohol and Isopropyl Alcohol?

The two different types of alcohol are commonly used in hand sanitizer today. But does one work better than the other?

Electronegativity Is Like an Atomic Tug-of-War

Electrons are attracted to some atoms more than others. If two atoms are of equal strength, the electrons will be equally shared. If one atom is stronger, the electrons will be pulled in that atom's direction.

What Are the 7 Diatomic Elements?

Diatomic elements are molecules composed of only two atoms, every time, always. There are only seven of them on the entire periodic table.

Denatured Alcohol: Great for Your Camp Stove, Not Your Margarita

Denatured alcohol is useful for lots of things, but drinking definitely isn't one of them.

The Ancient Element Bismuth Is the Pink in Today's Pepto-Bismol

Bismuth is a naturally occurring element with many applications in our daily lives, but even more than that, it looks amazing when it cools!

Formaldehyde Is Everywhere, But Is It Dangerous?

It's an odorless gas that's present in a variety of home products, cosmetics, car exhaust and even humans. But is it bad for us?

What's the Difference Between Covalent and Ionic Bonds?

Making chemical compounds is a lot like dating. Some ions are naturally compatible; others hook up out of desperation.

Peyote Is Endangered, Spiritually Sacred and Becoming Legal

Long-banned in the U.S., except for religious purposes, peyote is starting to be decriminalized in some cities. But is that a good thing for this endangered plant?

What Are Isotopes?

You don't need to be a fan of chemistry to appreciate isotopes. They affect geology and medicine, too.

Elemental Haiku: A Poetic Take on the Periodic Table

Award-winning poet and fiction writer Mary Soon Lee has found a charming way to combine science and poetry in a refreshing new take on the periodic table of elements.

Is Borax Harmful or Helpful?

Borax, a popular addition to laundry detergents and slime recipes, is a natural ingredient that has been getting flack for possibly being harmful to children. But is this true?

Does Alcohol Freeze?

If you've ever had a half-frozen beer explode on you, you know that yes, alcohol freezes — but not all types freeze at the same rate. We'll let you in on the secrets to frozen alcoholic delights.

It's Elementary: The Periodic Table Quiz

It’s the ultimate cheat sheet for science class — and it’s right there hanging on the wall. What do you really know about the indispensable periodic table of elements?

How a New Blue Pigment Became a Crayon

The story of how the first new blue pigment in 200 years was discovered and took its place in the crayon box.

What Makes a Scent Soothing?

Why do most of us start relaxing as soon as we smell lavender or vanilla? Is it the memories they conjure up or is there a chemical reason?

Why Does Hydrogen Peroxide Come in a Brown Bottle?

You probably have a bottle of the stuff at your house. Have you ever seen it come in any color bottle besides brown?

The EPA Just Made It Easier to Use Asbestos

The Trump administration quietly changed the rules on asbestos use in the U.S. What does that mean?

Bloodstains at Crime Scene Can Tell Age of Victim or Suspect

Scientists have developed a blood test that can give an approximate age of a person within an hour.

Why Compressed Air Canisters Shouldn’t Be Shaken

It's a force of habit to shake spray canisters, but when it comes to canned air, that inclination could cause frostbite.

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