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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Flame colors span a spectrum that tells a tale as old as fire itself. Many people wonder what color is the hottest flame; more than a testament to the natural fascination with fire's beauty, this question underscores a fundamental principle in the science of thermodynamics and combustion.

By Clarissa Mitton

All bubbles pop — that's a fact of life. But what's the science behind the short life and inevitable pop of a bubble?

By Allison Troutner

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?

By Nathan Chandler

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Juice and soda mix well with alcohol, but a few things don't mix so well. Some may just produce embarrassing moments. Others could cost you your life.

By Beth Brindle

Why do newspapers turn yellow over time?

Scenario: A helium balloon is up against the ceiling one day, and the next day it's on the floor. Does the balloon fall because the helium leaks out, or because the helium molecules slow down due to decreased pressure?

By Austin Henderson

I have heard that carbon monoxide is extremely poisonous. Can you explain why?

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Cadmium is a natural metal and the leading component in rechargeable batteries and solar cells. It is also highly toxic and heavily regulated.

By Allison Troutner

Discovered in the early 1800s from a chunk of smuggled platinum ore, rhodium is the most valuable precious metal on the planet today, used mainly for keeping car emissions in check.

By Allison Troutner & Austin Henderson

The main function of the Krebs cycle is to produce energy, stored and transported as ATP or GTP, to keep the human body up and running.

By Jesslyn Shields & Austin Henderson

Superacids are those with an acidity greater than sulfuric acid. So which is the most super of superacids and what exactly is it used for?

By Allison Troutner & Austin Henderson

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Rust is the common name for iron oxide, which is created when iron bonds with oxygen. In fact, pure iron is only rarely found in nature because it interacts with oxygen so easily.

I recently bought a pair of mirrored sunglasses and they are already scratched. Isn't there a way to make them scratch-resistant?

Here's something to consider: The place you call home likely has walls and glass windows. Both are adept at keeping rain, snow and wind from bothering you in your abode. Only one, though, allows light to enter. Why is that?

By William Harris

If the idea of being completely knocked out by a cocktail of drugs while doctors operate on you freaks you out, you're not the only one. But that's not what anesthesia is all about it — and it might scare you less if you understand how it works.

By Shanna Freeman & Nicole Antonio

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About 90 percent of Americans consume some form of caffeine every day: It's our most popular drug by far. What's so special about this stimulant?

By Marshall Brain, Charles W. Bryant & Matt Cunningham

Helium balloons tend to fascinate adults and children alike (and it's not just the Donald Duck voice thing, though that is a big draw). Learn all about helium and why it floats!

By Marshall Brain

One person lay in critical condition on Feb. 29, 2008, after the deadly biotoxin ricin was found in his Las Vegas hotel room. What is ricin, and why is it so dangerous?

By Julia Layton

Most of us have heard the talk about oysters and chocolate, and maybe you've read an article about the stimulating effects of ginseng. But garlic, licorice and cucumber? Learn about the history of aphrodisiacs and whether they've been proven to be effective.

By Lee Ann Obringer

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Viagra is one of the best-known drugs of all time. Nearly every adult in America has heard of the drug and can tell you what it does. Find out how this high-profile medication works its magic.

By Marshall Brain & Katie Lambert

Crack cocaine, like many other illegal drugs, leads to addiction, death, increased crime rates and imprisonment. But this drug targets the inner city almost exclusively and possession or distribution of crack carries extremely harsh prison sentences.

By Stephanie Watson & Nathan Chandler

Marijuana isn't just a recreational drug for hippies and philosophy majors -- its psychoactive history ranges from Egyptian mummies to modern U.S. politics. What's the big deal about this leafy, green plant?

By Kevin Bonsor & Nicholas Gerbis

You know how chocolate sometimes turns white? Why does that happen and is it still OK to eat?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors & Desiree Bowie

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If water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, why can't we breathe underwater? It has to do with how molecules combine and how the human lung functions.

Ever wondered exactly what they "artificial flavors" in your candy are, and why no specific ingredients are listed? Find out in this article.

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors & Yara Simón