Chemistry is the science that studies matter in terms of its composition, structure, and properties. It also studies the changes that matter undergoes, which can occur due to chemical reactions associated with the absorption or release of energy.
Chemistry opens into different specialties:
- Inorganic chemistry. It refers to all elements and compounds that are structurally based on carbon-hydrogen (CH) bonds. This is not to say that inorganic compounds cannot contain carbon or hydrogen. For example, carbon dioxide (COtwo) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) are inorganic compounds.
- Organic chemistry. It studies compounds whose structure is based on carbon-carbon (CC) and carbon-hydrogen (CH) covalent bonds, although they can also contain other atoms such as nitrogen (N), oxygen (O), phosphorus (P) or sulfur (S).
- Biochemistry. Study the compounds and chemical reactions that take place in living organisms. It is based on organic chemistry.
- Physical chemistry. Study matter from a physical and chemical point of view.
- Analytic chemistry. It establishes methods and techniques to analyze matter qualitatively (identifying substances in a sample) and quantitatively (determining the amount of a substance in a sample).
Although it is a complex discipline that requires a long preparation for its understanding and the advancement of knowledge, there are many applications of the chemistry in everyday life since its application has improved our quality of life thanks to its combination with technology and industry. For example: Various chemicals such as mineral salts are included in drinking water.
In addition, chemical reactions occur in nature itself, in our own body and in everything around us.
Examples of chemistry in everyday life
- Pesticides are chemicals that are used to spray crops from which our food is obtained.
- Food provides us with energy through chemical reactions within cells.
- Each type of food has a different chemical composition, and offers different contributions to the body.
- Helium is used to inflate balloons.
- Photosynthesis is the chemical process by which plants synthesize (produce) saccharides.
- Various chemicals such as mineral salts are included in drinking water.
- Chemicals suspended in the air (known as smog) damage our health.
- Different colorants are chemical compounds used to make certain industrial foods look more attractive.
- Food also enhances or changes its flavor through chemical compounds called flavorings. Flavorings can mimic the taste of a natural product or develop an unfamiliar flavor.
- Sulfur is used in tire repair.
- Chlorine is used to bleach clothes, disinfect surfaces and in small proportions also to make water drinkable.
- Detergents are chemicals that are used to wash objects in our homes.
- The colorants are chemically developed to be able to give color to the fabrics that make up clothing and other items of daily use.
- The natural fermentation of food (which makes it no longer able to be consumed) is a chemical process.
- To prevent fermentation of food, chemicals known as preservatives are used.
- The means of transport use different substances derived from oil that undergo chemical changes within their engines.
- Chemical analysis of tobacco smoke identified that it contains ammonia, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, propane, methane, acetone, hydrogen cyanide, and other carcinogens. This discovery alerted us to the need to protect passive smokers.
- We usually use multiple plastic materials. Plastic is a chemical product obtained through the polymerization (multiplication) of carbon atoms, which generates long chains. Most plastics are compounds derived from petroleum.
- Natural leather is also chemically treated with compounds that prevent its decomposition and can give it a different color from the natural one.
- Different chemical substances make it possible to identify the potability of the water, through the identification of bacteria and inorganic substances.
- The so-called “eco-leather” or synthetic leather is a polyurethane product, a chemical product obtained by the condensation of hydroxyl bases (alkaline molecules) and diisocyanates (highly reactive chemical compounds).
- Neon is used to obtain fluorescent lights.
- Respiration is an exchange of substances in the lungs, studied by biochemistry.
- Diseases are treated with chemical substances (active principle of medicines) that allow the elimination of the microorganisms that cause them.
- The different mineral salts are used by the body to support all its vital processes.
- Knowing about smog and its components allows the development of chemical substances (cosmetics) that counteract its negative effects on our skin.
- Forensic chemistry studies organic and inorganic compounds found at crime scenes, collaborating with police investigations.
- Even the most basic foods like kitchen salt (NaCl) are chemical compounds: salt is made up of cations (positively charged ions, Na+) and anions (negatively charged ions, Cl–) linked through ionic bonds.
- Each part of our body has a specific composition that it needs to maintain to stay healthy. For example, nails are a compound of amino acids and different inorganic substances like calcium and sulfur.
- The chemical composition of blood includes sugars, amino acids, sodium, potassium, chlorides, and bicarbonates.