Chemical reaction

The Dance of Molecules: 10 Chemical Reactions That Changed the Course of Chemistry

When was the last time you had an encounter with Chemistry? Do you like the subject? Well, liking or disliking is completely personal. However, Chemistry, as an institution, stands ahead in shaping the course of other subject bases, and chemical reactions are an important part of the same.

A chemical reaction occurs between two molecules. Here, the reactant molecules experience an instantaneous breaking within their bonds. On the other hand, new bonds are made between the product molecules! Look around you. There are tonnes of chemical reactions happening now and then. But here, we will briefly explore ten of the many chemical reactions that changed the course of Chemistry.

Haber Bosch Process

The chemical reaction of the gases of hydrogen and nitrogen facilitated the synthesis of ammonia, which is an inorganic chemical compound. It is emitted from decaying plant and animal bodies. Certain plants and bacterial organisms from air and water also synthesize it. In 1909, Fritz Haber, along with fellow German chemist Carl Bosch discovered an industrial method to produce ammonia through what is now known as the Haber-Bosch process. The discovery aided the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics, coloring agents, ammunition, and other chemicals, changing the course of life and Chemistry.

Discovery Of Polyethylene

In 1933, Polyethylene was discovered as an accident. The interaction between ethylene and benzaldehyde created a white moldable matter. The incident happened while chemists of the Imperial Chemical Industrial Research Laboratory, Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett were experimenting with some chemicals. The translucent substance’s low density and elasticity proved to be advantageous as they can be used to create bottles, garbage containers, as well as materials useful in the construction business.

The Discovery Of Urea

According to the Vitalism theory, organic molecules can only be derived from living organisms. But in 1828 the German scientist Friedrich Wohler refuted the theory by synthesizing urea. His task was to attempt the synthesis of ammonium cyanate. He created white crystals and made them react with several ingredients to create ammonium cyanate. These were eventually determined to be urea. Thus implying how urea was an organic substance and went against one of vitalism’s central tenets. This later served as the basis for the study of organic chemistry.

Water: A Compound Of Oxygen

In 1783, French scientist Antoine Lavoisier disproved the phlogiston theory. By combining oxygen with flammable air. The reaction resulted in water, later shaping the code of conduct for the modern field of Chemistry. Water turned out to be one of the elements where the base of chemistry is rooted today, even though Chemistry was an undeveloped subject back then.

Discovery Of Soap

There is evidence suggesting ancient Babylonians were into soap-making back in 2800 BC. It was Procter & Gamble’s Ivory, a modern soap and probably the first to gain national distribution. The creation of soap, or as the process is known – “saponification,” is an interesting play of chemicals. The reaction of fatty acids with potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide helped achieve modern-day soaps. The reaction is interesting because it is created by combining polar and non-polar molecules of water and oil, respectively.

Creation Of Sulphuric Acid

Johann Glauber’s experiment on sulfur and potassium nitrate created Sulphuric Acid. It was produced from the reaction of the chemicals to heat. The combination of water with Sulfur Trioxide makes up sulphuric acid. It is used to make fertilizers, gunpowder, and refined petroleum. It also functions as an electrolyte, oxidizer, dehydrating, and cleaning agent.

The Briggs-Rauscher Reaction

Thomas Briggs and Warren Rauscher invented the Briggs-Rauscher reaction. The reaction occurs over a radical process, which is turned on when the I- concentration is at a lower level or can also be high through a non-radical process. Both reactions reduce iodate to hypoiodic acid. However, in the radical process, the seed of hypoiodic acid formation is much faster than the non-radical process. One of the most widely used examples of a chemical oscillator process is called the oscillating clock. Three colorless solutions are combined to start the reaction. The mixture’s color will alternate between clear, amber, and deep blue for around three to five minutes. In the end, the blend is blue-black.

The Tale Of Tollens Reagent

In this experiment, a solution containing silver nitrate (Tollens’ reagent) and a reducing sugar (glucose) react to generate silver. It forms a mirror-like coating on the interior of the reaction vessel as the silver is deposited. The German scientist Bernhard Tollens, who discovered the reagent and its applications, is honored with the name of the Tollens Reagent.

Discovery Of Polonium And radium

Extremely radioactive components polonium and radium were found in 1898 by French physicists Pierre and Marie Curie. These elements are present in uranium rocks. The term ‘radioactivity’ was first used by Marie to describe the ionizing, penetrating rays that some atoms spontaneously release.

The Vulcanization Process

The mid-1800s saw a revolution in the rubber business with Charles Goodyear’s discovery of the vulcanization process, making rubber resistant to heat and cold. Vulcanization is a chemical process in which rubber is combined with accelerator, sulfur, and activators at 140 to 160 degrees Celsius. However, the curing conditions vary depending on the type of vulcanizate used and the facilities available in the rubber factory.

These are some discoveries in the field of chemistry that not only impacted the discipline itself but also brought changes in other fields of study. Though it has been a lot of days since the discoveries were initiated, the impact has had a long-lasting effect.

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