Bronze

Following on from last months Olympic frenzy and like a good Chemist I felt I couldn't leave my Olympic postings on Silver and Gold by themselves. I needed to finish the mini series... So here is it - Bronze. Incidentally, in the Chemistry Olympiad (a competition organised by the RSC or Royal Society of Chemistry), third prize is Copper and not Bronze ..... but that is for another debate! Bronze has a whole ear of human history named after it - the bronze ...

Why does it smell so bad?

This is not directly IB related but it is certainly Chemistry related. I was carrying out the reaction between iron filings and hydrochloric acid yesterday. An experiment I am sure many others out there have carried out. The context is the reactivity series and it also involved reacting magnesium, aluminium, copper and zinc with hydrochloric acid. I have carried out these reactions many times in many different schools and continents and always get the same puzzling result. The iron reacts (fine) butr ...

Minerals in the diet – Copper

Copper is required in the body in enzymes associated with oxygen and electron transport. It seems as if nature has chosen copper for this role as it is easy to reduce it from Cu 2+ to Cu + and then to oxidise it again from Cu + to Cu 2+. Because of this, it is needed as an essential trace element. In other words, it is essential but only needed in very small quantities (around 3mg per day) 1. Good sources of copper in ...

The second controlled chemical reaction – the answer is….

So, the second week of the year draws to a close. You and your students have been pondering the answer to 'what was the second controlled chemical reaction?' all week .... and the answer is ..... Extraction of Metals from ores (of course!) Control of this reaction to us from the Neolithic age and led to the Bronze age, Iron age and ultimately the Industrial age. The earliest recorded use of a reaction used to extract a metal (it was copper from copper carbonate) ...