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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Better Living through Chemistry? Organophosphates

Chemistry, Health
[caption id="attachment_24277" align="alignright" width="590"] Organic chemistry: esterification of carboxylic acids.[/caption] As the world became more sophisticated, a philosophy sprouted declaring the problems plaguing mankind would one day be resolved via education. A popular slogan developed by one manufacturing giant suggested their products could assist one to better living through chemistry. But what of organophosphates – potentially dangerous pesticides? Better Living through Chemistry In some ways, the world is a better place due to the aid of chemists. Perhaps, though, the opposite could be said with equal fervor. Chemistry has also degraded quality of life in some respects. You don’t have to think long to find an illustration of this – consider the use of phosgene and mustard gas during times of war. In peaceful times as well, chemists unwittingly caused…
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Amino Acids and Proteins: Major Components of Meat

Chemistry, Food
[caption id="attachment_23573" align="alignright" width="480"] Image by LifeisGood[/caption] The meat we eat largely consists of proteins, which are made up of amino acids. Proteins may be broken down into amino acids – and, amino acids may be built up into proteins. Consider the basic structure of amino acids and proteins. Amino Acid = Amine + Carboxylic Acid Amino acids contain an amino group, an acid group, and an alkyl group. In an amino group, there is one trivalent nitrogen atom, which is attached to two hydrogen atoms. We write out an amino group as –NH2. An amino acid also contains a carboxylic acid group. It is written –COOH, that is, it contains one tetravalent carbon atom that is double-bonded to an oxygen atom, and also it is single-bonded to one hydroxyl…
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