DAD: Because the water washes the dirt away when I use soap.
DAD: Why do I use soap?
DAD: Because the soap grabs the dirt and lets the water wash it off.
DAD: Why does the soap grab the dirt?
DAD: Because soap is a surfactant.
DAD: Why is soap a surfactant?
DAD: That is an EXCELLENT question. Soap is a surfactant because it forms water-soluble micelles that trap the otherwise insoluble dirt and oil particles.
DAD: Why does soap form micelles?
DAD: Soap molecules are long chains with a polar, hydrophilic head and a non-polar, hydrophobic tail. Can you say ‘hydrophilic’?
DAD: And can you say ‘hydrophobic’?
DAD: Excellent! The word ‘hydrophobic’ means that it avoids water.
DAD: Why does it mean that?
DAD: It’s Greek! ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘phobic’ means ‘fear of’. ‘Phobos’ is fear. So ‘hydrophobic’ means ‘afraid of water’.
SARAH: Like a monster?
DAD: You mean, like being afraid of a monster?
DAD: A scary monster, sure. If you were afraid of a monster, a Greek person would say you were gorgophobic.
SARAH: (rolls her eyes) I thought we were talking about soap.
DAD: We are talking about soap.
DAD: Why do the molecules have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail?
DAD: Because the C-O bonds in the head are highly polar, and the C-H bonds in the tail are effectively non-polar.
DAD: Because while carbon and hydrogen have almost the same electronegativity, oxygen is far more electronegative, thereby polarizing the C-O bonds.
DAD: Why is oxygen more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen?
DAD: That’s complicated. There are different answers to that question, depending on whether you’re talking about the Pauling or Mulliken electronegativity scales. The Pauling scale is based on homo- versus heteronuclear bond strength differences, while the Mulliken scale is based on the atomic properties of electron affinity and ionization energy. But it really all comes down to effective nuclear charge. The valence electrons in an oxygen atom have a lower energy than those of a carbon atom, and electrons shared between them are held more tightly to the oxygen, because electrons in an oxygen atom experience a greater nuclear charge and therefore a stronger attraction to the atomic nucleus! Cool, huh?
Hi, I'm doing an art project for my AP Art class, and we had to incorporate some sort of text into our piece, and I chose to incorporate chemical structures into my piece. I was just wondering what your favourite chemicals are, structurally?
C60! You might find this website useful for your project. Good luck! :)
"Today, our English class proceeded to move our desks around to work with each other on an annotation. Four desks were moved, enclosing a square perimeter. Closed off from the group, my desk rested at one corner of the desk-made square. It was then that I realized we had formed the line structural diagram of methylcyclobutane."
When it’s arranged in sheets, it’s soft as pencil lead. Arrange it in crystals, and it’s hard as diamonds.
On September 4, 1985, three scientists trying to figure out the structure of a carbon molecule known as C60 began playing around with toothpicks and jellybeans. One of them began sticking his jellybean atoms together in the shape of alternating pentagons and hexagons. Interestingly, his structure began to curve into a ball.
To the scientists, the sphere created this arrangement of candy and sticks looked an awful lot like the geodesic dome built by visionary architect R. Buckminster Fuller in 1967 for the world’s fair in Montreal. As it turned out, the jellybean model of C60 was correct, and the molecule discovered was named “buckminsterfullerene” after its inspiration. The exhibit “Molecules That Matter” used dog toys as buckyballs.
This was not some esoteric finding. The advent of the fullerene, which can be round, ellipsoid or tube-shaped, led to the entire nanotech industry.
Today fullerenes show up in everything from ultra-light, ultra-strong bicycle frames and tennis rackets to “nanopants” that are soft and breathable yet repeal water and stains. And they make great desk toys, too.