These Chemical Reactions Made Dramatic Changes in the World

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Chemistry is an important part of everyday life and you may not be aware of that most of the time. The simple exchange of energy and rearrangement of atoms though not visible to the eye are inescapable. It is quite interesting to know that some chemical reactions have the power to change the landmark of history and the journey of humankind in general.

List of Chemical Reactions with Significant Effects

  • Saponification

This chemical reaction is responsible for the production of soap where soap molecules contain both polar and non-polar parts. The polar content of soap combines with water while the non-polar part blends with the oil, allowing it to have small droplet forms in the water, which are easy to remove. The first soaps contained heated salt, animal fats, ashes, and water where the first ones existed as early as 2800 BC.

  • Water and Carbon Dioxide

The combination of water and carbon dioxide results in a chemical reaction called carbonic acid, which further breaks down into bicarbonate into carbonate ions that release H+. The acid that the chemical reaction releases is that sharp sensation that you experience when you drink a fresh soda. However, the same chemical reaction also happens in nature particularly the mixture of carbon dioxide with water in the ocean. Such reaction could be beneficial to organisms such as sea grasses and algae but it could harm others including the corals, shellfish, clams, and oysters.

  • Fat Hydration

During hydrogenation of fats, the unsaturated fatty acids undergo the trans configuration. The process adds hydrogen to unsaturated fats, turning them into saturated fats. Other results could produce at least more highly saturated fats, which later on releases the Crisco brand or shortening that contains hydrogenated cottonseed oil. It is primarily cheaper than the popular choice at the time, which is standard lard. However, the decline of using hydrogenated fats in the food industry took place after the FDA regulated trans fats due to its adverse health effects.

  • Hydrogen Combustion

The Greek elements of fire, earth, air, and water are the basic roots of chemistry especially during 1700s when this branch of science was still underdeveloped. Phlogiston became one of the most noteworthy additions in chemistry with the concept that inflammable substances contain phlogiston, a fire element. According to this chemical reaction, phlogiston is lost to the air upon combustion. The theory explanation is shown in the lesser weight of burned charcoal than its original form. However, the theory failed to explain the mass gain of sulfur and phosphorus after combustion. French scientist Antoine Lavoisier changed it with his theory that water is a combination of oxygen or a substance found in the air and inflammable air. The process of decomposing water into hydrogen and oxygen became his hypothetical support.

Many other chemical reactions changed the face of history and the world, as you know it. The likes of ammonia synthesis, polyethylene polymerization to create plastic, and ozone destruction are just few of the additions in chemistry that could never be undone.


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