Showing posts with label oxygen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oxygen. Show all posts

Complex Chemistry to Strike a Match

The chemistry of lighting a match.
If you want to see in a dark room, light a match. It's simple isn't it? Not so fast, it is actually quite complex. A slow motion video at 40,000 frames per second shows the process. The completed video spreads out 0.10 of a second into one and a half minutes.
The process of lighting a match
Ignition takes place inside the "live" head of the match. It is just a little explosion followed by "slow" burn. The chemical blob does not burst into pieces. I holds together with small bits rolling to the outside surface.  It looks a planet exploding.

The main ingredient of a match head is antimony trisulfide: potassium chlorate makes this burn. Ammonium phosphate is also there to reduce particles from escaping, but some smoke is inevitable. Paraffin wax coats the match down to the halfway mark to ensure the flame continues on down the matchstick.

Powdered glass and red phosphate in the strike strip on the side of the matchbox ignites by friction when the head of the match is drawn across the strip. Oxygen comes in causing ignition turning the red phosphorous into white phosphorous. Fire and flame ensues from the heated potassium chlorate. Oxygen plus sulfide makes the flame burn longer.

So when you next light a match think of the complex process, then go on doing your mundane task. Lighting a fire? haven't you been told not to fight fire with fire?  Oh, you do fight/light fire with fire!
 Chemistry by Ty Buchanan 
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Mars Trip Sign Up is Stupid!

There is a stupid, idiotic "thing" going around the Internet at the moment. It is the selection process for the one-way journey to Mars. In my opinion this will not be allowed to go ahead. If and when a spaceship is built common sense will come to the fore and those wanting to commit suicide will be prevented from going.
Let's ignore the moral perspective for the moment and think about the ship itself. A secure, life sustaining environment inside a space vehicle for such a long journey is not yet possible. Man reaching the moon was probably just a fluke. Alas, things did go wrong. Apart from the well known ballpoint pen in the circuit-breaker hole trick by Buzz Aldrin, there were dozens of problems that mysteriously were all solved - divine intervention? Well, we will never know.

A trip to Mars will be a chain of continuous problems. For a start we do not know what the real space environment is like out there. Astronauts could die of radiation in a few months of travel. There is no solution to this. Mechanical issues with the ship are almost certain. It may not be possible to go outside to make repairs.

Lastly, how will this end? if they do safely reach Mars they could either be filmed choking to death when the oxygen runs out, or being burned alive as the craft obits inward and falls to the planet itself. The easiest option it to bite down on a pill. Some, however, will not be able to do this.
Science by Ty Buchanan
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Power Generation Via Hydrogen Is Not Taking Off

It is amazing how people will see something new, then run with it to the extreme saying this will change the world. This is true for virtually all non-fossil energy producing systems, but all of them have drawbacks and none have revolutionized the power sector. The two major problems have been high cost and non constant energy production during the 24 hour period.

Scientists have worked on hydrogen systems for decades and success seems very distant. It is not being accepted for widespread use. Actually, hydrogen is a "byproduct" of energy production. When electricity is generated by any method the excess not used at a point in time is passed through water. It splits into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis with the fuel stored to be used in the future. When hydrogen is recombined with oxygen, electricity is generate. Heat from the process can also be used directly for heating purposes.

As with other environmentally friendly electricity producing methods time will tell if hydrogen is accepted for general use. Perhaps hydrogen can be made in significant quantities from solar and wind generation. It could potentially make for a hybrid system producing electricity 24 hours a day. Until now, governments have been the main source of funding for hydrogen experiments. Apparently, the private sector sees little future in it. For non-fossil energy systems to flourish it is necessary for the community to work together. Unfortunately, individualism is the norm. Perhaps this is why there is very little progress.