Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream: What’s the Difference?

Food, Health
You shop often at your local grocery store, and you're pretty well acquainted with what they carry. Even if it threw you for a loop at first, you learned the difference between baking soda and baking powder. In time, you even learned what gefilte fish was! Your grocery list today includes cream for use in a dessert topping. You head to the dairy section and see assorted cartons of milk, half and half, light cream, and... heavy cream and whipping cream. Hmm. Which one do you buy What's the difference between them? Both Work Generally speaking, both whipping cream and heavy cream will achieve the desired result. In fact, some brands have taken to more specific labeling to better identify what they are. Some companies have chosen to say their…
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What are Ammines (Not Amines)? How Are They of Interest?

[caption id="attachment_24754" align="alignright" width="480"] tetramminediaquacopper(II) ion[/caption] Although most of us are not chemists, we recognize certain chemical terms. Some terms are more familiar than others. We know orange juice, tomatoes, and vinegar are "acid" or acidic. Other terms are less familiar, such as "free radical". We've heard them, and we have a faint idea of what they mean, but we don't really understand what they are. Amines, we may realize, are in part responsible for the fishy odor we seek to eliminate when cooking. To the chemist, an amine is an organic compound that includes at least one –NH2 group. N is the symbol representing a nitrogen atom, and H represents hydrogen. The word amine reminds us of the word ammonia, and rightly so. Ammonia is familiar to us as…
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How Does Thioglycolate Hair Remover Work?

Biology, Chemistry
Hair: men bemoan its loss and women fret over its appearance. For decades during the 20th Century, women were enamored by the so-called permanent wave. The most common process for assuring permanency of a hairstyle obtained at the beauty parlor involved a chemical process involving thioglycolate. See, Permanent Wave: Chem-mystery of Curl. By Extension... Although this process was used, not to remove hair, but to beautify it, by extension, a closely related process has been used to eliminate hair that grows¹ in undesired places. Notice this chemical reaction that occurs when thioglycolate is used to remove hair². 2 HOOC-CH₂-SH + R-S-S-R → HOOC-CH₂-S-S-CH₂-COOH + 2 R-SH The above reaction reads: two thioglycolic acid molecules plus one cystine (disulfide hair bond) produces two dithioglycolic acid molecules and two cysteine molecules. To…
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Manufacturing Polyurethane Involves Diisocyanates: How Dangerous?

Chemistry, Health
You almost can't escape from it. In one form or other, it is nearly everywhere. What is that? Polyurethane. We will focus on polyurethane in furniture refinishing. Then we will discuss its manufacture, and how its manufacture is so dangerous. Furniture Refinishing Before Polyurethane When I was young, I assisted my father in refinishing furniture. First, we'd strip the old finish off. Then, we'd rub the piece with fine very sandpaper. But that wasn't good enough. So we followed that up by polishing the surface with clean, dry, soap-less steel wool. Next, we'd apply a choice stain with a cotton rag such as an old torn T-shirt. Once that dried, we'd apply a coating of shellac. Once that was completely dry, we varnished. However, a coating of varnish produced to…
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Motor Oil Degradation in Automotive Engines

Chemistry, Technology
Why is it so important to change the motor oil in your car? The answer is due to motor oil degradation. Unrecycled motor oils originate from naturally occurring crude oil. As such, motor oils are necessarily a complex combination of organic compounds: Molecules made simply of carbon and hydrogen. A percentage of these hydrocarbons include ring structures—whether saturated aliphatic rings or aromatic rings (benzene or polycyclic). However, the largest percentage of motor engine oil consists of straight and branched chain hydrocarbons of varying lengths. Motor oils are high-quality lubricants, but even the best of these products will degrade with use. Why is Oil a Lubricant? A good lubricant must readily flow and have sufficient viscosity. It should not freeze in even cold environments. It should possess a high level of…
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Sulfur Analogs of Oxygen-Containing Organic Compounds

[caption id="attachment_24653" align="alignright" width="480"] Common oxygen-containing organic compounds[/caption] Organic compounds contain carbon and hydrogen, and occasionally other elements. Most notably, these include nitrogen and sulfur, but also phosphorous, chlorine, bromine, and iodine. Simple oxygen-containing organics, including n-butyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, methyl ethyl ketone, diethyl ether, and tert-butyl peroxide appear in the illustration at top. An analog is a structure which is similar to another structure, except that one atom or group is replaced by another (similar-behaving) atom or group. Here, we will discuss sulfur analogs. Alcohols The generic structure for a simple hydrocarbon, a compound of hydrogen and carbon, is usually written RH. The equivalent for an aromatic structure is ArH. An alcohol has one hydrogen atom replaced by an –OH group. Hence, an alcohol is written generically, R–OH. The aromatic…
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Electronegativity of Atoms: What are Determining Factors

Chemistry, Physics
[caption id="attachment_24637" align="alignright" width="480"] 5d molecular orbital - Image Dhatfield[/caption] When two different types of atom are bonded together, they do not share their bond electrons equally. This is because each type of atom possesses its own charge environment, which results in an atom’s electronegativity. Electronegativity is the measure of an atom’s ability to attract additional electron density to itself. For example, Sodium seeks to give an electron to become a positive ion, Na+. It has a very low electronegativity. Iodine wants to gain an electron to become a negative ion, I-. It has a relatively high electronegativity. Charge Environment Atoms vary in electronegativity, and bonds vary according to constituent atom electronegativities. The electronegativity of an atom depends upon its charge environment. That environment depends primarily on three things... Distance…
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What is Peat Moss? How Could It Harm the Environment?

Plants, Technology
[caption id="attachment_24609" align="alignright" width="480"] A beautiful peat moss bog.[/caption] Peat is composed largely of sphagnum and other mosses, although some other plant material may be included. Because these plants grow in wetlands, the abundance of water decaying plants breakdown slowly and without the presence of oxygen. That is, decomposition is anaerobic, more than aerobic. Commercializing Peat Moss Harvested peat is employed in a number of ways. Perhaps best known is its use as a soil amendment and in the manufacture of peat pots for seed germination. In some regions, dried peat is used for the generation of electric power. There might not be much impact from this, except over large periods of time, meters-deep peat bogs form. They become a valuable resource. However, the need for peat is sometimes less…
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From Acids to Superacids: From Lavoisier to Olah

Chemistry, History
Acid theory evolved in stages. Our understanding of what constitutes an acid has improved, but that is not all. As a result of our better understanding, acids of greatly increased strength – superacids – have become available, as well. Early Acid Theory – Lavoisier [caption id="attachment_24574" align="alignleft" width="240"] Lavoisier & wife[/caption] The 18th century French chemist, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, later guillotined by French revolutionaries, developed a theory of acids inaccurately based on a required presence of oxygen. This theory lasted into the 19th century. Its popular downfall was prompted by its undue restrictions on what constitutes an acid. Many acids contain no oxygen whatsoever. Hydrogen and Acids – Baron Justus von Liebig [caption id="attachment_24577" align="alignright" width="240"] Leibig[/caption] Although there was no detailed theory, credit should be given to Justus von…
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Pirates: Where Does the “Black Spot” Come From?

History, The Arts
Movies and TV shows featuring Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and their supposed exploits usually deviated enormously from reality. Even when there was a grain of truth, the productions were often encased in fictitious chaff. But Westerns were not the only shows we craved. Pirates were an enormous favorite as well. Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, were popular Hollywood fare for a buccaneer-hungry public. Fictional Pirates [caption id="attachment_24548" align="alignright" width="300"] Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver with his parrot[/caption] Ned Buntline and Zane Grey enthralled the young with action/adventure stories of the 'Wild and Wooly West'. Robert Louis Stevenson gave us cowboys of the seas in his salty novel Treasure Island. Treasure Island features Long John Silver, the peg-leg buccaneer, and his band of misfits. Included in…
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