Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chemical Reactions in Everyday Life

We've been spending a lot of time working on problems involving chemical reactions. But, what does this really have to do with everyday life?

For example, the gasoline you put in your car is made up of a solution of different liquid hydrocarbon fuels (octane, ethanol and others). When your car engine burns these fuels for energy to make the car move, a combustion reaction occurs. Carbon dioxide and water are produced as this reaction occurs and these products are expelled through the tailpipe into the atmosphere.

For each of the other different type of chemical reactions (double replacement, single replacement, composition, decomposition), describe a real life application in a similar manner as I have done above. Be as specific as you can but remember, your writing needs to "make sense" to the general public (the rest of us who are reading your post). Yet, you need to address the science concepts we have been discussing in class.

PLEASE also be SURE to include your name on the post....I need to know who you are!


  1. When you bake a cake, you put baking soda in the mix which reacts with acidic substances in the cake batter in a double replacement reaction:

    NaHCO3 + HX --> NaX + H2CO3

    H2CO3 decomposes into water and CO2. The CO2 causes the cake batter to rise. Thus providing the cake you eat.


  2. This is certainly a good explanation - but, one more question...what causes the H2CO3 to decompose into the carbon dioxide and water? -

  3. Some examples of the application of a double reaction are the making of pigments and the removal of salt from water in water treatments. During the process of making a white pigment silver nitrate plus sodium chloride produces silver chloride and sodium nitrate. This reaction yields a white precipitate. A precipitate is the formation of a solid in a solution during a chemical reaction. When the reaction occurs, the solid formed is called the precipitate, and the liquid remaining is called the supernate. In this case silver chloride is the precipitate and sodium nitrate is the supernate. In water treatments the ionic sodium compound produced would be the precipitate and the distilled water produced would be the supernate.

    Phil, M8

  4. When you buy sterling silver jewelry you must also buy something to polish it with, because over time the silver tarnishes. This tarnish is a result of silver reacting with the oxygen in the air in a synthesis reaction. In the reaction the silver combines with the oxygen to product tarnish on the jewelry. Then you use the polish to remove the tarnish on the silver and then the process starts again.

    Brian McGuire

  5. Actually H2CO3(carbonic acid) is a very stable molecule, but if you add water to the equation it causes it to break down more rapidly.

    When you absorb the carbon dioxide in water (synthesize) like so you get the following result

    H2O + CO2 <---> H2CO3 (in a synthesis reaction, but at the same time decomposes into:)

    H2CO3 <----> H2O + CO2

    the equations are already balanced, when you synthesize a molecule of water and carbon dioxide the reactants will yield carbonic acid as the product.

    Carbonic acid decomposes almost immediately. When you exhale you breathe out carbon dioxide and water, but before that you have carbonic acid in your blood which goes through a process(i don't know what it's called some respiratory thing) and some goes into your lungs where it is probably already broken down and you breath it out and take in more oxygen and it repeats the process.

    so carbonic acid is some sort of intermediate step between inhaling O2 and H2O and exhaling CO2 and water.

    when pressurized and at the right temperature you can find pure carbonic acid, but since it is very unstable you won't find any laying on the chemistry floor ;]

    I hope that answered the question and wasn't too confusing, sorry for a late response.

  6. An example of synthesis is the formation of kidney stones. It has been shown that when you don't consume enough calcium, there is a high chance that the calcium that you do get will bond with oxalate in your gastrointestinal tract. The bonding of these two liquids forms the solid calcium oxalate. This is what the majority of kidney stones are made of. The chemical equation for this is Ca+C204--> CAC2O4

    - Monica G4

  7. Hydrochloric acid lines our stomachs, and enzymes use it to help digest proteins. When we eat too much food too rapidly, our stomachs produce too much HCl resulting in heartburn. Antacids have compounds that work to neutralize the excess HCl that is produced during heartburn. Metal hydroxides in antacids react with the HCl yielding a metal chloride and water and in turn reducing the excess amount of HCl in our stomachs and reducing heartburn.

  8. A perfect example of chemistry being applied to everday can be found in a very common cleaning product that is quite prevalent in several homes which is bleach. We use bleach to clean our everthing from out bath tub to our socks.Bleach is a dilute solution sodium hypochlorite(NaClO) or calcium hypochlorite Ca(OCl)2. It kills bacteria and colored organic materials by oxidizing them which is the loss of electrons by an atom, ion, or molecule.

  9. Synthesis: 4Fe + 3O2 => 2Fe2O3
    Iron(III) rusts when in contact with air because synthesis reaction occurs with the reactants being iron(III) and oxygen and product being iron(III) oxide/hydroxide.

    Decomposition: 2H2O2 => H2O + O2
    Hydrogen peroxide gradually decomposes into water and oxygen gas.

    Double Replacement: 2MnO2 + H2O => Mn2O3 + 2OH
    In an alkaline battery, Magnesium oxide reacts with water to form a different magnesium oxide and hydroxide. This is half of the pair of reactions that give batteries their electrical charges.

    Single Replacement: 2AgNO3 + Cu => Cu(NO3)2 + 2Ag
    This isn't exactly a reaction you see when you're walking down the street. A solution of silver nitrate will turn blue when copper is submerged in it. Also, the copper will change into a cool, silvery color. (I've never tried it but it sounds wicked cool, like maybe it would be an awesome lab to do during class, hint hint)

  10. Gold, Au, can not react with oxygen, so you do not need to polish the object. This is all according to the Activity Series Sheet.

    Au + O2 --> N.R.

    Greg Price

  11. Decomposition: Carbonic acid, the "fizz" in sodas, pop cans and other carbonated beverages, will spontaneously decompose over time into carbon dioxide and water. This is why when you leave an open soda can out for a long time, it looses the “bubbles.”
    H2CO3 => H2O + CO2

    Single Replacement: If you immerse an iron nail in a copper sulfate solution, it will come out coated with copper metal.
    Fe + CuSO4 => FeSO4 + Cu

    Double Replacement: The classic vinegar and baking soda experiment is an example of double replacement and decomposition.

    Vinegar is acetic acid: CH3COOH
    Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate: NaHCO3

    CH3COOH + NaHCO3 => CH3COONa + H2CO3
    That last product is carbonic acid which quickly decomposes into carbon dioxide and water: H2CO3 => H2O + CO2

    The CO2 is what you see foaming and bubbling in this reaction.

    Synthesis: Have you ever noticed that some really old pennies have turned green? That’s because the oxygen combines with the copper penny to form copper oxide, which is green.

    2 Cu + O2 => 2 CuO

    Stacie Copple
    G4 Murphy

  12. An example of an everyday chemical reaction can be seen when you leave an iron object outside for a long period of time. The iron object will react with the oxygen gas in the air and form iron oxide. This will make the iron object rust.

    Chris Moore

  13. I do not go to whatever school or educational insitute this is, but I must say that this conversation has helped me in one of my school assignments. Thanks alot. However referencing this source in my bibliography will be hard. Thanks anyway