Chemistry: This Stuff Is Really Fun!
This Stuff Is Really Fun!
Chemistry is fun! With a good grounding in chemistry, you'll not only understand how to balance an equation and discuss moles like a pro, but you'll also get a better understanding of how real-world phenomena work. For example, take the everyday fish tank filter (see Figure 1.2). Most of us don't give a lot of thought to how the filter works, choosing instead to scrub out the foam sponge and change the charcoal whenever the tank starts looking a little scummy.
Though you wouldn't think so by looking at it, the filter uses sophisticated chemistry to keep your fish alive and happy. The first section of the filter contains a foam sponge that allows water to pass through undisturbed but picks up solid fish waste. From a chemist's standpoint, you've filtered the solids from a heterogeneous mixture. The second section of the filter contains activated charcoal, which serves to remove dissolved fish wastes. From a chemist's standpoint, the activated charcoal selectively adsorbs organic compounds, allowing inorganic materials to pass through undisturbed.
When something is adsorbed, it has been stuck to the surface of a material. Absorption, with which you are more familiar, is when something has been soaked up into another material.
Okay, so this example won't wow the guests at your next get-together. However, you'll probably find that people are more interested in the science behind every-day objects than they're willing to admit, even if they do claim to hate chemistry.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chemistry © 2003 by Ian Guch. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.