Chemistry

What are plastics?

We live in the age of plastics and hence most of the things that we use today are made up of different kinds of plastics. Plastics are synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids. There are many kinds of plastics available that differ because they have different molecular mass.

Plastics are very flexible and therefore, you can mold them into almost any shape that you want. The word plastic which is derived from Greek word plastikos which mean capable of being molded. Plastics have different chemical structure, and therefore, they have different molecular units that separate them from one another.

PlasticsIn other words, plastics are a kind of polymers that are made up of long chain of molecules that are known as monomers. However, plastics are well known for their light weight and molding capabilities due to which they are being preferred to compare to wood and steel which is bulkier in weight. Plastics are easily made in industries and therefore, the prices of plastic goods are comparatively cheaper, which is also one of the reasons that plastics are preferred in the current situation. Plastic goods are also water proof, and they do not have problems, even if you use them in moist conditions and hence they are the best choice.

There are different kinds of plastics that are available in the market. Plastics like ABS, Acrylic, Amino Plastics, Bakelite, Cellulose Plastic, Cellulose Acetate, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Copolymer, Epoxy resin, Monomer, Glass reinforced polyester, nylon, Phenol Plastic, Polycarbonate, Polyester, Polymer, and polypropylene are easily available in the market. Most of the modern furniture and technological gadgets are made up from these plastics. However, there are some environmental issues that have been caused because of the over-utilization of plastic items because plastics degrade very slowly and that causes a lot of environmental hazards.

How many chemical elements are there?

Many people wonder about the total number of elements present in the Earth’s crust. The right answer to this question is around 118 elements according to the periodic table. There are about 94 elements that are naturally occurring while the remaining are said to be the trans-uranic elements or artificial elements, which are synthesized in experiments where they interact with each other.

The chemical element is the type of an atom. According to the latest information obtained, 118 elements have been identified which are listed under different categories like alkali metals, Alkali earth metals, transition metals, metalloids, Halogens, other metals, other non metals, noble gases and rare earth metals. Each element is different in its properties, appearance, chemical composition and physical state. While some exist in solid state, others can be found in liquid or gaseous state. Some elements exist in free state in Earth’s crust and others can be found in combination with other elements.

According to the studies conducted, it has been said that the present day elements come from mainly three sources – the supernova nucleosynthesis, Stellar nucleosynthesis and the Big bang nucleosynthesis. In simple terms, neucleosynthesis can be defined as the process when the atom nuclei is pressed very close together at high heat so that they overcome their mutual repulsion and produce one heavier nucleus.The first nine elements known to ancient men were gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, tin, mercury, sulfur and carbon.

These are the most commonly used elements, which usually exist, in their pure form. Out of the 118 elements discovered so far, 94 occur naturally on earth and 24 elements are not found on earth and are derived artificially. All artificial elements are radioactive in nature and have a short half-life. Hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and aluminum are some of the elements that are found in abundance.

How to Get Rid of Rust?

When iron corrodes by coming in contact with water and oxygen rust is formed. As soon as rust surfaces it must be removed as it then leads to decay of the material it has affected. Once started, rust spreads easily.

The rust can be brushed away with sandpaper. A layer of antirust solution must then be coated on the object. It must be remembered that before you apply any solution the rust must fully disappear from the object.

Another amazing way of getting rid of the rust is by applying Naval Jelly or similar pastes, creams or solutions to the rust so that it gets converted to ferric phosphate. Once it gets converted it can more easily be removed from the object by scrubbing it.

If the rust affects an area badly it can create rusty holes too! For getting rid of them, Bondo is considered a very affective material for filling in holes. It is made of fiber glass. After applying Bondo the holes gets filled and then it can be painted normally. Application of a primer is also a great way to protect objects from getting rusted.

These were the simple ways to get rid of the rust accumulated on any object, but why wait for the time when an object gets rusted? Simple methods to prevent objects being rusted have been suggested, the first one being, painting the object. Whatever the object may be applying a coat of paint will help protect the object from being rusted.

Another way of protection against rusting is galvanizing, which is also called zinc plating. By zinc plating we mean electroplating of iron sheet or piece with zinc. Bluing is also counted amongst ways for protecting metals against rusted corrosion.

You may also choose to protect the object by placing it at such a place where contact with water or water vapors are minimal. This is a great and very effective way of protection of metals against rusting.

Wax based products for avoiding rust are also available in the market. Those may be used to ditch prevent rust from forming.

Sometimes you may wonder why your stainless steel cooking wares don’t rust it is because it is an alloy with almost 10.5 % of chromium in it.

Most of the above mentioned ways are easy to adopt and great to prevent objects from being rusted.

How to Get Rid of Rust Stains?

Most people discard objects having rust stains on them, thinking that they are of no use anymore. This is far from the truth. Rust stains are removable. No matter which object they affect it is possible to get rid of them.

If rust stains have spoilt your clothes there are a few ways to fight it back. Put many paper layers on the area stained with rust. Dip it in concentrated lemon juice and hang the cloth in a way that sunlight directly falls on to it. Let it dry completely. Now wash it in your usual manner. You will find that the rust stain has vanished from your clothes.

Another way to remove the rust stain is to take some cream of tartar and mix it with water and wash the cloth with it. This will remove the stain up to a great level but will require a usual wash too.

There are a few products dedicated to rust stain removal that are available in the market. One thing is to be kept in mind is to follow the instructions carefully to avoid any harm to the cloth material or color.

If rust stains affect your cooking utensils you may follow the below mentioned ways of getting rid of it.

Dip the affected container in a solution of water, lemon juice and white vinegar overnight and scrub the next day for great results. In case the stain still doesn’t get completely removed make the solution stronger and again dip the container for about ten more hours. Scrub again and see the stain vanish from your utensil.

Removal of rust stain is possible with an acid based product. Acid is strong enough to fight out the stubborn stains. Oxalic acid may be used too for stain removal. This must be handled very carefully, should be keep away from pets and young children. You must be wearing apron and rubber gloves in hands to avoid any mishap while handling this acid. Hydrofluoric acid is also strong enough.

Rhubarb is also considered to be very useful in rust stain removal. You may also choose to soak a cloth in water and then add ZUD to remove the stain from the affected area.

It is also believed that cola mixed with salt can also remove rust stains. If you do not want to complicate the procedure, a lemon can be squeezed on the affected area and drop one table spoonful of salt on to it and scrub to get rid of that rust stain. However there are a few don’ts too. Chlorine bleach must never be used on a rust stain.

It is indeed a little difficult to get rid of the stains of this orange red chemical developed by an iron coming in contact with water and oxygen and getting corroded. If correct measures are adopted for rust stain removal, the process becomes easier and a lot of money can be saved.

How is iron extracted from its ore?

The uses of iron are innumerable. It is probably the most important metal for the human race, which has discovered its uncountable uses since 3500 B.C.
Pure iron, a grayish white metal, is scarce on Earth. It is only available in fallen meteorites. Apart from that, the iron on earth is found as a combination with other minerals. The most common form of iron is the oxides. Iron is extracted from the ore containing the maximum amount of iron. This is found near the surface of the Earth.

Iron ore is converted to iron by various processes. The most common process is the use of a blast furnace to extract pig iron. Pig iron comprises of about 92-94% iron and about 3-5% of carbon along with other impurities. Pig iron has limited uses, so it is sent to steel plants where the content of carbon is further reduced. The iron is then combined with manganese, nickel and other such elements that help it acquire certain specific properties.

Process: Iron ore is extracted from the best ores, which is ore with the highest iron content. These are then crushed and sorted by magnetization and other processes. Only the purest parts are taken to the blast furnace. After this processing, the ore is blended with another ore and then burnt in the blast furnace. The blast furnace is a tower shaped steel structure, lined with heat resisting bricks. When the mixture enters through the top of the furnace, very hot air is blown in through nozzles. The hot air makes the coke burn. Carbon in the coke reacts with oxygen in the air and forms carbon monoxide. This carbon monoxide reacts with the ore and forms pure iron and carbon dioxide. The pure iron is then separated from the impurities called slag at the bottom of the furnace. It is then extracted. Most of the gases are siphoned off to a gas cleaning plant where they are cleaned and made ready for other reactions.

This process in the blast furnace can continue up to years at a time till the blast furnace is in need of repairs or maintenance.