I mixed milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) and pickling salt (calcium chloride) together and was very surprised when the glass suddenly heated up. I haven't taken a chem class in 12+ yrs and I can't figure out what the exothermic reaction was that I inadvertently made. Any chemists out there to shed some light?
posted by thelaze
on May 20, 2014 -
For a book I am ghostwriting, I'm researching how a Mars colony might support itself. Perchlorates in the martian soil can be refined out to produce solid rocket fuel. My question is -- how would the stuff be manufactured? [more inside]
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit
on Oct 2, 2013 -
My neighbor believes I am killing his lawn by emptying small amounts of pool water into a pond on my property which borders his property. I do wish he would stop yelling at me. How much pool chemistry (say, calcium hypochlorite) would I need to add per gallon to my pool to damage his lawn? [more inside]
posted by mindsound
on Sep 11, 2013 -
One of my chemistry courses this semester requires that I use a non-programmable, scientific calculator on all exams. Do you know of any multi-line calculators with a similar keypad to my TI-84+ Silver edition? A lot of the calculators I've looked at on Amazon appear to be of the 2-line variety; the ones that have 4-lines don't have the ability to take inverse logs or to create custom-defined exponents. It'd be really nice to have as large a display as possible; money is no issue.
posted by lotusmish
on Aug 20, 2013 -
I need to ace a cumulative general chemistry 1 test on Wednesday. It's worth a huge portion of my grade. Cramming (in the traditional sense of the word) is pretty much inevitable as it is a summer class so a shitload of information had to be covered in a few weeks. What should I do for the next 24-32 hours? How little sleep can I get away with the night before the exam? P.S. I have ADHD [more inside]
posted by DayTripper
on Jul 8, 2013 -
My SO and I were having some italian-themed chicken wings, and had some fresh-grated parmesan cheese on the side in a copper bowl. After our meal, we were cleaning up and transferring the leftovers to the fridge for storage, and the cheese on the bottom of the bowl had turned a light blue.
Does anyone know why this happened? Given that it happened over only a few hours to just the cheese in contact with the bowl, I'm thinking it was some kind of reaction with the copper.
posted by mikurski
on Apr 3, 2013 -
How would a graduate chemistry student distinguish themselves as more gifted than their classmates? [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen
on Oct 19, 2012 -
Are there unpleasant compounds in plastic (specifically Britta filters) that are soluble in pure ethanol that I don't want to drink? [more inside]
posted by Lame_username
on Sep 26, 2012 -
Solutions of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and potassium metabisulfite in water are both slippery to the touch. Why is that?
posted by Prince_of_Cups
on Jul 5, 2012 -
Intermolecular forces questions: Why do H-S-S-H molecules have dipole-dipole attractions to eachother? Why does ion-dipole attraction make for a stronger solute-solvent interaction than hydrogen bonding? [more inside]
posted by sunnychef88
on Dec 13, 2011 -
How do I identify the metal from which that this nameplate is made? It's from a WW2-era lathe. Is behaves somewhat like lead, but is harder. [more inside]
posted by introp
on Jul 18, 2011 -
Homemade popsicle filter: why does melted popsicle taste better than frozen popsicle? [more inside]
posted by rebekah
on Jun 5, 2011 -
Why is my lemoncello cloudy? When I combine the simple sugar and the lemon infused alcohol, both of which are very transparent (although one is a luminous yellow) the resulting mixture becomes instantly cloudy. Can anyone explain why? For bonus points can you suggest a way to minimize this? [more inside]
posted by Lame_username
on Apr 7, 2011 -
Can one sell a chemical over the internet if its not a precursor to meth or an ingredient in explosives? What regulatory and legal issues are there? [more inside]
posted by Twinedog
on Mar 14, 2011 -
Does compressed oxygen burn? Or do only objects IN compressed oxygen burn? Please settle this dinnertime discussion...The hubs and the daughter's boyfriend need to be told which one of them is right. Thanks!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies
on Jan 5, 2011 -
How come sulphur hexaflouride is an extremely potent greenhouse gas when it's much heavier than air? [more inside]
posted by gkhan
on Dec 12, 2010 -
I know *what* an azeotrope is, but I don't really know *why* an azeotrope happens. Please enlighten me. [more inside]
posted by selenized
on Nov 11, 2010 -
Help me understand hair care chemistry. When I look at the list of ingredients on bottles of conditioner, what ingredients should I avoid. I can't stand the 'waxy' feeling I get from some conditioners. My old favorite standby conditioner changed formulas recently and it now has the dreaded waxy ickiness. NOT looking for specific product recommendations, only for ingredients
to avoid or possibly ingredients to look for. [more inside]
posted by marsha56
on Aug 17, 2010 -
my mother used to put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in milk to keep it fresh past the 'use by' date. it appears to work. very well. what's the chemistry behind this? and should i drink it?
posted by msconduct
on Nov 30, 2009 -
My shower (an in-stall water heater) sometimes smells like something rubber is burning. It's a strong acrid smell that I only notice while in the shower and usually only after a sweaty workout. There is no sign of smoke like you would expect with burning rubber. Is this just some sort of weird sweat and treated water chemical reaction? Anybody heard of something like this?
posted by srboisvert
on Jul 24, 2009 -
What techniques do chemists use to map the molecular structure of a substance?
posted by shivohum
on May 31, 2009 -
What do you call a gel that turns into a liquid with very minor agitation/pressure? [more inside]
posted by Bugbread
on May 30, 2009 -
I've just poured myself a Dark Horse Brewery
Tres Blueberry Stout. A slow, steady pour that left a modest head on top. And then a droplet or two skidded around over the foam like a water droplet on a hot frypan for maybe five seconds before disappearing.
Darndest thing I've ever seen. Beer geniuses, how did this happen? How can I make it happen again?
posted by ardgedee
on May 15, 2009 -
How do laser and inkjet printers work? I know the basics, of course, but I am looking for serious expertise at the level of the actual chemistry and physics... things like fuzer specs, toner chemistry, deposition, transfer, particle masses, exotic materials; in short... the stuff an actual expert would know. [more inside]
posted by FauxScot
on May 7, 2009 -
I have sulfuric acid, de-ionized water, and basic lab equipment. Can I revive my crappy car battery? [more inside]
posted by scose
on Feb 23, 2009 -
I made (delicious!) mashed sweet potatoes in a conventional stove-top pot, covered the pot with Reynolds aluminum foil, then put it in a still warm but off-position oven (simply to save stove-top and counter space for the moment while wanting it to stay at room-temperature). Retrieving the pot a few hours later, I found that the inner surface of the foil had turned a light brown. It was also moist from the condensation, but had remained clean, unoiled, unburnt. I've cooked quite a bit and never seen this. What could be causing such discoloration, and is it a worrying symptom (of, say, toxins in the foil)? [more inside]
posted by taramosalata
on Dec 14, 2008 -
Chemist-Filter: I am an analytical chemist working for a company that specializes in leaching semi-precious metals out of waste material. The display on our Varian AA (atomic absorption) Spectroscope is too dark. Can it be fixed without calling in our repair/maintenance technician? All information is appreciated. [more inside]
posted by mrw
on Oct 9, 2008 -
Is there a chemical explanation for the density of an element or is it simply an innate physical characteristic? [more inside]
posted by beta male
on Jan 21, 2008 -