Chemistry, much like physics, is all around us. While chemistry deals with things down to the atomic and molecular levels, it also deals with change, and change is something we experience regularly. Sometimes, a slight change in the chemistry can have huge effects on certain things or our bodies themselves.
With that being said, there is a wide variety of the effects of chemistry in everyday life. What usually begins on a minute scale can extend its reach to a much grander scale. Everything happens for a reason, and if we were to trace the root cause of these reasons, chemistry usually has a hand in it.
If chemistry plays a huge part in our everyday lives, what are the best examples of chemistry in action daily? Read the article to find out.
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Branches of Chemistry
Before we dive into the effects of chemistry in everyday life, let us first discuss the different branches of chemistry to understand which branch does what. Like other science branches, chemistry has its own subcategories, and these categories deal with very specific matters.
Chemistry is a complex branch of science, but having different branches breaks it down into bite-sized and easily digestible pieces. This will also allow us to quickly identify which component is in charge of the everyday things that chemistry affects.
With that being said, here are the branches of chemistry and their definitions:
- Organic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry is the branch of chemistry that is in charge of studying the molecules of living beings. Organic chemists are usually in charge of developing new molecular reactions that will make various processes easier; hence this branch of chemistry deals with pharmaceuticals or food.
- Analytical Chemistry
Analytical Chemistry deals with measuring and quantifying matter. This branch of chemistry is the most scientific branch in that it deals with identifying the properties of matter. Specific data gathered from the qualitative and quantitative analysis can be used in different fields such as forensics and environmental chemistry, making this branch of chemistry highly essential.
- Inorganic Chemistry
While Organic Chemistry deals with molecules of living beings, Inorganic Chemistry deals with studying compounds that lack the C-H (Carbon-Hydrogen) bond and are primarily comprised of metals, thus making them inorganic compounds. This branch of chemistry studies the composition of such inorganic objects to provide helpful information for the development of polymers or provide much-needed information for material science.
- Physical Chemistry
Physical Chemistry specialises in merging physical properties and chemistry, specifically how various physical properties affect matter. An excellent example of this one is how light or heat affects matter, so, in a way, this is like merging physics and chemistry together.
If Physical Chemistry is like the marriage of physics and chemistry, Biochemistry is like merging biology and chemistry. Biochemistry focuses on the reaction of the molecules within the human body, so this branch of chemistry is ideally suited for medicine. Biochemistry deals with infection, different diseases, and clinical diagnostics, among other things, and it is one of the key studies that push medicine forward.
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5 Fantastic Examples of Chemistry in Everyday Life
Chemistry plays a huge part in everything that we do. Even though their effects are on a granular level, the changes in matter affect our everyday lives. From simple and almost automatic bodily functions such as digestion or even how we cook our food, chemistry has a hand in everything.
With that being said, here are other examples of chemistry at work in our everyday lives.
- Our Emotions
Do you often wonder why we get certain feelings even though we don’t intend to feel that way? Emotions aren’t just random thoughts or feelings, but they actually come about due to different chemical reactions within our brains.
Chemical imbalance within the brain can also result in different mental issues like depression, and all of these things happen because of either the lack or overabundance of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry signals from your brain to your body, and these things are the ones responsible for our emotions.
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One instance of chemistry in everyday life is through digestion. Digestion is a process that happens automatically and almost under the radar that we fail to notice chemistry at work. Our body works like a well-oiled machine in that each part knows which chemicals to release during digestion, effectively breaking down the food that we eat.
Different physical processes such as the release of hydrochloric acid, bile, and other enzymes are all guided by our body’s chemistry, including the perfect time to perform these processes. The chemicals involved in these processes all help break down our food, leaving only the necessary nutrients behind.
- How Sunscreens Work
Sunscreens or lotions, in general protect our skins from a wide variety of damaging factors like sunlight and other pollutants, and they do this by altering our skin’s composition. Sunscreens, in particular, uses a combination of compounds that creates a shield that protects our skin from harmful UV rays.
Chemistry plays a huge part in this process because through a combination of these compounds and their reactions with your skin, something new and beneficial comes out. Considering that sunscreens are essential not just for going to the beach but just going out in general, chemistry is also crucial to our everyday lives, in a way.
- How Soap Works
Keeping up with the central theme of discussing obscure everyday items of activities we often take for granted, chemistry also plays a huge part in soaps. Soap contains chemicals that clean your skin thoroughly when it comes in contact with your skin and water.
This process of transforming from a bar into a cleaning agent is called Saponification, where the different chemicals within the soap are broken down when mixed with water. The process with which soaps work is a perfect example of chemistry in our everyday lives since we use soap every day.
We often hear that baking is more science than art, and this comparison isn’t just because everything needs to be measured. Baking is more akin to science because chemical reactions are happening underneath the surface when you bake.
Baking soda is a perfect example of this chemical reaction. Baking soda is an essential ingredient in baking because it introduces carbon dioxide within the bread, allowing it to rise and be fluffy. Without baking soda, each bread you bake will just be hard pieces of batter; that’s why there needs to be a chemical reaction to produce a soft and fluffy bread.
Chemistry is all around us, even though everything works under the surface, and these processes and items are proof of the impact chemistry has on our everyday lives. Chemistry is also a fun subject to study because by studying different lessons and branches of this subject, you will understand how the world works.
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