Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 45 general entries. We are selecting 30 for display.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|Tin is a relatively scarce element. Are we likely to run out of it? Which situation most accurately describes the supply/demand situation when it comes to tin?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Demand far exceeds supply. We are running out of tin, and rapidly. In 2008 it was estimated that there are about 6.1 million tons of economically recoverable tin reserves, and total reserves of about 11 million tons. If current consumption rates continue, we will run out of tin in 20 to 40 years! Countries with the largest reserves include China, Malaysia, Peru, Indonesia, Brazil and Bolivia.
|As we have seen, tin has been used to make a lot of things throughout the ages. Today most of the world's tin supply is used to manufacture what item?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Solder. Tin is used for all these purposes. Pewter is an alloy of tin and lead used for making plates, stemware, and jewelry. Glass for window panes is manufactured by floating molten glass on molten tin using something called the Pilkington process, which was invented in 1960. The fluoride in your toothpaste is in the form of the tin compound stannous fluoride (SnF2), which helps to prevent cavities. Over half of the world's tin supply, however, is used to manufacture solders used in plumbing and electronic circuits. This use of tin is likely to continue to rise as many countries are now banning more traditional lead-based solders.
The ceiling. Pressed tin ceilings were used in many buildings from about 1850 to 1920. They were made from very thin sheets of rolled, tin-plated steel, and were embossed with beautiful designs. They were very durable, and can still be seen in many old buildings. Tin ceilings caught on because they could be used to imitate much more expensive plaster tiles. Most tin ceilings were originally painted white to look like plaster. If you have a tin ceiling in your house and decide to replace it, don't throw away the tiles. They can fetch as much as $15 each in the antiques market.
|Some metals are necessary in small amounts for the human body to fuction properly. These are called "trace elements" and include copper, zinc and selenium. What might happen if you ate a diet totally lacking in tin?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Neither of these. Tin plays no known part in human nutrition.
All of these (Tin easily bonds to iron and steel, Tin resists corrosion, Tin is non-toxic). In America we call them "tin cans;" the British call them simply "tins." Although they are called tin cans, the tin coating is very, very thin. Interestingly enough, while tin cans were invented in 1810, the can opener wasn't invented until nearly 50 years later! Today many cans are made out of aluminum, and in the future "tin cans" may contain no tin at all. A similar thing happened to metal foil used to wrap food; it was originally made of tin, and though nowadays it is made from aluminum, but some people still refer to it as "tin foil."
10. The atomic weight of tin's stable isotopes ranges from 112 to 124. It also has 28 unstable isotopes.
|At normal temperatures and pressures, tin exists in two forms: white tin and gray tin. When an element exhibits different physical and chemical properties, what are the different forms called?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Allotropes. White tin (also known as beta tin) is the bright, silvery metal with which most of us are familiar. Grey, or alpha tin, is a grayish, powdery substance. Carbon is another element that exhibits allotropism; graphite and diamonds are both pure forms of carbon, but unless you knew this, you'd never guess they were the same substance.
|Copper is relatively plentiful in Europe and the Middle East, but deposits of tin are rare. From what modern day country did the ancients get most of their supplies of tin?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Great Britain. Most of the ancient world's tin came from Great Britain, especially from Cornwall. The Phoenicians engaged in an active trade with Britain, undertaking long and hazardous sea voyages to obtain this precious commodity. New sources in in Bolivia and and the Far East eventually superseded Britain as the world's leading producer. The last Cornish tin mine closed in 1998.
|Tin is a relatively rare metal, comprising only about 2 parts per million of the Earth's crust. Yet it has been highly sought after since ancient times.
The first important use for tin was in the manufacture of what substance?||Tin: An Interesting Element
Bronze. Around 3300 BC, it was discovered that adding small amounts of tin to copper resulted in an alloy that was harder and more durable than either metal alone. Soon bronze was being used to manufacture tools, weapons, jewelry, and many other items. It was so important to the advancement of civilization that the period between 3300 and 1200 BC is known as the Bronze Age.
|In the mostly inorganic carbon quiz there has to be one question about organic carbon chemistry. Which element does carbon bond with in almost all organic compounds?
||The Mostly Inorganic Carbon Quiz
Hydrogen. Organic chemistry is usually defined as the study of the compounds of carbon with hydrogen and other elements. There has to be carbon and hydrogen, other elements are optional. Occasionally, chlorine or fluorine substitute for the hydrogen. It was once thought that these chemicals could only be made by living things, hence the term "organic". The big upset occurred in 1828, when Friedrich Wöhler made the organic chemical urea, found in urine, from inorganic chemicals. The modern usage of "organic" as "naturally produced" is quite different to the meaning of "organic" in the scientific context, and can certainly confuse students!
|I remember this liquid as one of the smelliest in the chemistry laboratory, with a strong odour of rotten eggs, but they tell me that if it's pure it's almost odourless. It is an excellent organic solvent, but is very flammable. What is it?||The Mostly Inorganic Carbon Quiz
Carbon disulphide. Most samples of carbon disulphide are contaminated with impurities, like carbonyl sulphide, and hydrogen sulphide, which explains that rotten egg odour. Much of the carbon disulphide manufactured today is used in the production of cellulose fabrics like viscose and rayon.
|Iron (II) cyanide or ferrocyanide is the main component in one of the first synthetic pigments. What is the common name for this dark blue coloured pigment?||The Mostly Inorganic Carbon Quiz
Prussian blue. It is thought that Prussian blue was first created by the Berlin paint maker Diesbach in Berlin, around the year 1706. It rapidly became popular with artists as far away as Japan, since earlier blue pigments were either prone to fade or very expensive. It is still used in many paints and is the traditional "blue" in blueprints. Because the cyanide is already tightly attached to the iron, ferrocyanide is not especially poisonous, and is actually used as an antidote to heavy metal poisoning from thallium or caesium-137.
Calcium carbide. When calcium carbide reacts with water, it fizzes, producing acetylene gas, which is then burnt, producing a bright light. A curved mirror then produces a broad beam, favoured by cavers. However, these lamps could not be safely used by coal miners because of the flammable gases often present in coal mines, which led to the invention of the Davy safety lamp.
Silicon carbide. Carborundum is nearly as hard as diamond - it is listed at 9 on the Mohs scale where diamond is a 10. It is mostly produced synthetically in an electric batch furnace, although very small amounts are found in nature as the mineral moissanite, mostly in meteorites.
Carbon can form four covalent bonds. Carbon is said to be tetravalent because it has four electrons in its outer shell, and it can easily form four covalent bonds. However, they don't have to be to four other atoms, because carbon readily forms double and triple bonds with itself.
Conducting electricity. Graphite is such a good conductor of electricity that it is used to make the electrodes for electric arc furnaces. Unlike diamond however, it is a poor heat conductor, also used to make crucibles to hold molten metal. It isn't malleable - as demonstrated by the brittleness of pencil "leads". Graphite certainly isn't transparent, but is a grey solid with a metallic lustre. The remarkable differences between diamond and graphite are due to their very different structures.
Atomic number. The atomic number of an element is the number of protons in the nuclei of its atoms. The mnemonic "Harry He Likes Beautiful Big Cars, Not Over Fast..." can be used to help remember the order of the elements in increasing atomic number. "Cars" is the sixth word in the mnemonic, reminding us that carbon is element atomic number 6.
|A fourth allotrope of carbon was discovered in 1985 at Rice University by Smalley, et al. This form of pure carbon was first found as hollow balls. What are these tiny balls called because of their resemblance to a geodesic dome?||Carbon: Incestuous and Promiscuous
buckminsterfullerene. To date, most of these structures which now include nanotubes and elipsoids are laboratory curiosities, although there are huge number of proposed uses, for example, nanowires or ionic cages.
soot. Soot is not crystalline and therefore is classed as without form or amorphous. It results from combustion of hydrocarbons.
organic chemistry. Millions of organic compounds are known. Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen, although a small group of elements, combine to make more compounds than all of the inorganic compounds combined.
Sixth most abundant. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Einstein weighs in on stupidity claiming "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Other abundant elements are iron and silicon.
C+3. Carbon forms a wide variety of compounds. It forms hybrid structures, mainly with hydrogen. Because carbon can form four bonds,the ultrahard substance diamond is possible. Although silicon also forms four bonds in a diamond type structure, it is brittle because of the relative size of the silicon atom compared with the carbon atom.
|Another allotrope of carbon has a structure composed of sheets of covalently-bonded carbon, held together with weaker bonds. What is this very common form of carbon called?||Carbon: Incestuous and Promiscuous
graphite. Graphite is 100% carbon, as is diamond. The bonding between the small carbon atoms makes a huge difference in the properties of the materials, due to the overlap of electronic orbitals in the case of graphite. Until recently, diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon (soot and charcoal) were the only known allotropes of carbon.
charcoal. Carbon is one of the elements discovered in ancient times. Its chemical symbol is C.
|Thin "whiskers" of carbon are imbedded in an epoxy to produce a light-weight material used in sporting equipment and in aerospace applications. What is the term for this combination of materials?||Carbon: Incestuous and Promiscuous
carbon-fiber composite. Carbon fiber composites are used to make guitars, kayaks, and bicycle frames. It is expensive, but worth it for many because of its superior strength, corrosion resistance, and light weight.
carbon-12 and carbon-14. When an animal or plant is alive its respiration keeps the ratio of C-14 and C-12 constant. After it dies, the carbon-14 decays to carbon-12 and the ratio changes at a known rate, which allows the determination of the date that the animal or plant died. The half-life of carbon is about 5700 years.
|There are four allotropes of carbon. One is famous for its hardness. In this form of carbon, each carbon bonds with four others. What is this allotrope commonly known as?||Carbon: Incestuous and Promiscuous
diamond. Diamond's unique properties are due to its structure and the small size of the carbon atom. Silicon forms the same structure as diamond, but is not nearly as hard, probably because the small size of the carbon atom allows stronger bonding.
Silvery-gray. Indium, like most metals on the periodic table, is silvery-gray in color in pure form. There are exceptions, such as gold, copper, and osmium.
314°F or 157°C - considerably higher than the boiling point of water, but still quite low. The majority of metals have higher melting points than this. There are even bigger exceptions to this, most notably mercury, whose melting point is -38°F or -39°C.
Tin. However, when tin makes this sound, it is called a "tin cry". The tin cry is relatively well known, but the indium cry is less famous. Both are caused from crystals rearranging whilst bent.
Ordinary metal. This group has a few other different names, such as "Poor metals" or "Post-transition metals".
Don't be fooled by the name: aluminum, tin and lead are also ordinary metals, but besides those three, the majority of the ordinary metals aren't what most people might consider "ordinary," such as thallium, gallium, bismuth or ununquadium.