As we welcome a new year, I hope one of your new year resolutions would be “to learn more about the periodic table.” Groaning in frustration? Don’t worry, this blog post would introduce twenty-four more elements to you— each with an interesting fact. (You can read Part 1 here).
Chemistry is usually not funny, but Nitrogen will keep you laughing all day! Nitrogen is used as laughing gas at the dentist, to distract your mind from the painful dental procedures and help you relax! At least it’s better than my father’s jokes…
Nature’s Chosen One loves colors. Solid and liquid oxygen usually appear light blue, but it can also appear in red, orange, pink, and black!
This highly explosive element is carbon’s arch-nemesis. Fluorine is one of the few elements that can attack diamond. Anybody want to watch Carbonman Vs. Fluorineman?
News flash: Neon, the New Helium? If you always find your helium balloons keep flying away from you, you may want to consider gaseous neon as your new balloon guy. If you fill a balloon with neon, it will rise in the air, but it would do it at a much slower rate than a helium-filled one. The balloon-stealing sky wouldn’t be happy though…
Sir Humphry Davy was a chemistry genius for a reason. It takes most chemists years (or decades) to find a new element. After discovering potassium, he discovered sodium within a few days. Talk about smart!
Like carbon’s diamond, magnesium is almost invincible. What would you do if you saw a magnesium fire? Spray nitrogen or carbon dioxide? Won’t work! Pour water to put it out? That will only make it worse! Magnesium fires are hard to put out, because they can burn through nitrogen carbon dioxide and water.
Ever wonder why you don’t see the thirteenth element in biology? Because of the number 13’s bad luck! Aluminium has no function in biology.
Diamond has a side-kick, and it’s called Silicon Carbide(SiC). SiC is nearly as hard as diamond.
Ah, phosphorus, the element that makes chemistry feel like the hardest spelling test ever. There are two super-villains called White Phosphorus and Black Phosphorus. White phosphorus is the “destroy everything within reach” type that can cause severe burns if you touch it. Black Phosphorus is the “evil impostor” type that looks like graphite powder and conducts electricity even though it is not a metal. Watch out for the Colorful Phosphorus Brothers!
Sulfur is taking over the moon! Or rather, one of Jupiter’s moons, Io. It appears yellow due to the large amount of sulfur on its surface. This sulfur comes from its many active volcanoes.
Ugh. The smelly stuff in the swimming pool. Apparently it’s deadly too! Chlorine gas was used by the Germans in World War I to poison Allied soldiers.
Amazingly, argon is a lot like humans. It’s a homework slacker, chill-out guy and couch potato who ain’t care about nothing. Literally. The name argon comes from the Greek word “argos” meaning “lazy” or “inactive.” (It’s also best friends with aluminium, because it has nothing to do with biology too!)
Where do you think we can find potassium in our food? Potatoes ? (Because it’s called “potassium”)Correct! It can also be found in bananas, avocados, nuts, parsley, and chocolate. (Mmm…)
Calcium and lime are soulmates. Calcium is named after the Greek name for lime, “calx”, which is calcium oxide.
Looks like you’re not the only one who failed in Geography! Although scandium was discovered by a Swedish chemist who named it after his homeland Scandinavia (Sweden is part of Scandinavia), it is usually found in Norway (home of the vikings that is another part of Scandinavia), and Madagascar (all the way in Africa!). Say hi to the lemurs for me, Scann!
Like scandium, titanium is another globe-trotter. Or rather, outer-space-trotter! Titanium is found in meteorites, on the Moon, and in some types of stars, but it is also found in the Earth’s crust (though not as a pure element. It is used to make anything from high-end golf clubs and tennis rackets to plated towns at a museum in Spain.
Always complaining that the names of elements are way to complicated? Well, it could have been a lot worse! Vanadium wasn’t originally supposed to be called vanadium. Proposed names for Element 23 included rionium, panchromium and erythronium. Personally, I’m relieved that vanadium is easier to spell!
Source: https://www.ducksters.com/science/chemistry/vanadium.php, http://www.softschools.com/facts/periodic_table/vanadium_facts/200/
Roses are red, while violets are blue. Rubies are red, while chronium is black/gray/blue/violet/orange/green/yellow/purple/other colors/red too! In fact, rubies get their red color from small traces of chromium!
Source: https://www.ducksters.com/science/chemistry/chromium.php, https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Inorganic_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_(Inorganic_Chemistry)/Descriptive_Chemistry/Elements_Organized_by_Block/3_d-Block_Elements/Group_06%3A_Transition_Metals/Chemistry_of_Chromium
In the periodic table, we have friends like H2O (water), and enemies like mercury or lead. However, manganese (no, it’s not the language of manga!) is considered a frenemy– although we need it to survive, such as for liver and kidney functioning, our bodies cannot store it!
It is common knowledge not to eat things like iron bolts or screws. However, do you know that you’re actually eating it almost every day– even without you knowing? Food sources of iron, which is good for your body, include red meat, beans, fish, and green leafy vegetables. (Note: these food sources DO NOT include the iron magnets in your science lab!)
Hey, fantasy lovers! If you hate chemistry (which probably everybody does except for me), then this fact is for you! The name cobalt comes from the German word kobold, meaning “goblin ore.” How magical!
Warning: Bombshell ahead! Why are nickel and copper mortal enemies? Here’s the exclusive scoop! Although the U.S. five cent coin is called the “nickel”, it is actually three-quarters made of copper! Only 25% of it is made by nickel, so nickel had stolen the credit and technically it should be called the “copper”! That scoundrel!
And now for the victim of nickel’s tomfoolery: the 29th element. Copper is the best collaborator and it’s the teammate who always has your back! Copper readily forms hundreds of alloys with other metals, like brass (copper and zinc) and bronze (copper and tin). It’s even big-hearted enough to work with the very element that stole its fame, nickel! Aww… This is my new favourite element! I’m weeping ’cause the story is just too touching… Just kidding:).
Source: https://www.thoughtco.com/interesting-copper-element-facts-603357, https://copperalliance.eu/about-copper/copper-and-its-alloys/alloys/
Yes! The last element for the day (not for the entire table, mind you), it also starts with the last letter of the alphabet! That’s right: it’s zinc! You probably thought you can’t eat metal (at least, not your iron bolts and brass tubas, made out of copper and zinc, as mentioned above), and thus you were probably horrified when you heard my fact on iron. “Oh well,” you probably sighed, “life’s like this! At least my baby brother/sister won’t ingest those disgusting metals. They’re too young to chew!” In that case, you’re wrong: zinc is sometimes used in toothpaste and baby powder! (Cue screams of terror.) Don’t worry, zinc won’t harm them! But brass tubas will. (Just sayin’.)
That’s all for today! Class dismissed!
Which fact did you find most intriguing? Comment down below!