Our entire universe is made up of matter which is constantly changing forms and evolving into other forms of energy. Chemistry is defined as the study or science of this ever changing matter. Or chemistry is essentially the study of materials and the development of new materials for the betterment of humanity. We use chemistry from the beginning of the day till its end, the toothpaste we use to brush our teeth is made of abrasives, fluoride, and detergents. It is a very simple fact that chemistry plays an important role in every person’s daily activities from the moment we’re born.
The role of chemistry usually begins first thing each morning. Most people wake up to an alarm or radio. These common household items contain batteries, which make them very chemically dependent. These batteries contain positive and negative electrodes. The positive electrode consists of a carbon rod surrounded by a mixture of carbon and manganese dioxide. The negative electrode is made of zinc and certain chemical reactions takes place which in turn produces electrical energy which finally drives the alarm or radio.
The two significant contributions made by chemistry towards our lifestyle is the protection of our health and hygiene. The purification our water by process of chlorination, dental cleanliness from toothpaste, sterilization, the control and the cure of disease are all a part of daily living discovered and created by chemistry. These discoveries make up a major component for the protection of our health and hygiene and are vital for the future existence of mankind. The ideal water for humans is hard water. Hard water is healthy as it consists of calcium, Ca2+, and magnesium, Mg2+, ions.
Ca2+ is needed in the formation of bones and is important in the clotting of the blood and regulating the heart beat. Mg2+ is needed for making protein and for passing impulses along nerve cells. The chlorination of water for drinking makes the water safe because it rids it from the diseases which can be transmitted through it. However, ideal water isn’t necessarily pure water. Pure water is expensive to produce, is tasteless and lacks in magnesium ions. Magnesium ions reduce the incidence of the hardening of arteries and therefore are used in the protection against heart disease.
The gas chlorine, Cl2, is most useful to purify water. Chlorine kills viruses and bacteria because it reacts with water to produce hypochlorous acid. Cl2 + H2O ? > HCL + HCLO. We may not even realize that, life is possible only due to coordination of various chemical reactions in living organisms. An example is the digestion of food, absorption of appropriate molecules and ultimately production of energy. This process involves a sequence of reactions and all the reactions occur in the body under very mild condition. We might have noticed that every generation of each and every species resembles its ancestors in many ways.
How are these characteristics transmitted from one generation to the next? Well, it has been observed that nucleus of a living cell is responsible for the transmission of inherent characters, also called heredity. The particles in nucleus of a living cell, responsible for chromosomes which are made up of proteins and another type of biomolecules called nucleic acids. These are mainly deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). The food that we take in are nothing more than chemical compounds in some or other forms, proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, etc.
Our live may come to a halt without the existence of chemistry. Even household cleaners and water purification systems are vitally dependent on chemistry. Without chemistry something as simple as scrubbing a toilet without fear of severe burns or small explosions might not be possible. Next, though it isn’t widely known, chemistry is also heavily involved with the manufacturing of things such as makeup and soap. Each time you bathe you are witnessing chemistry at work. Chemicals such as acetyl alcohol and propylene glycol are typical ingredients in the soap used to wash your hair and skin.
Without chemistry, these materials (or combinations of these materials) might be hazardous or might not exist. The chemical coloring agents used in makeup and nail polish would not be possible without an understanding of the chemicals involved. The eradication of a number of diseases and major contributions to improving human health, have been made by modern chemical discoveries. Some important contributions in this field are life saving drugs and prophylactics, i. e. , disease preventing serum and vaccines, anesthetics and antiseptics and disinfectants and germicides.
Chemistry plays an important role in most industrial processes. Important examples are manufacture of synthetic fibre like rayon, nylon, Dacron, orlon etc. , the plastics like Bakelite, Teflon, polythene etc. and many more things of our use like – paints, varnishes, enamels, dyes, cement, glass and ceramics and extraction of metals like silver, magnesium, gold, iron etc. Significant contributions towards securing enough food grains and protecting crops have been made by the use of chemistry. Chemical fertilizers like urea, ammonium sulphate, calcium nitrate etc. , for the better production of crops.
Insecticides such as DDT, BHC, chlorinated hydrocarbons, aldrin, malathion, dieldrin, furodan etc. , for the protection of crops from insects and to help in the safe storage of foodgrains. And the preservatives like sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulphite and salicylic acid for better preservation of food and check its wastage. In every walk of life, chemistry has been the pioneer contributor towards enabling the comfort, convenience and pleasures of man. Chemistry has helped us in getting a number of amenities. Domestic requirements such as better fabrics, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, dyes, oils, flavoring essences, paper etc.
Air conditioning, refrigeration and domestic gadgets: To keep people cool and food fresh in all seasons, we make use of air conditioning. Chemical substances like liquid ammonia, liquid sulphur dioxide, CFC etc. , are used in these machines. All consumer electronic gadgets based on Printed Circuit Board technology (PCB’S) use specialized chemical coatings for their functioning. As we know our energy resources of the world are mainly petroleum, coal, wood, nuclear fuels. To conserve the fast depleting reserves of coal and petroleum, attempts are being made by chemists to utilize alternate energy fuels.
Nuclear energy, solar energy, ocean energy (hydrogen from seawater), which may provide inexhaustible sources, are being studied under chemistry for future energy needs. But besides all the contributions of chemistry to humanity it has also been misused by unscrupulous people, endangering the society. It has given the menace of harmful drugs and their bulk processing, like LSD, cocaine, brown sugar, angel dust, etc. that cripple the society. Chemistry has also developed explosives such as TNT, RDX and other deadly chemical weapons of destruction – the atomic and hydrogen bombs.
Terrorists and aggressive societies have used these with devastating effects. Almost anything we do during the course of a normal day involves chemistry in some way. The gas and tyres in cars we drive, the makeup we put on our faces, the soaps and cleaners used everyday, burning wood or other fossil fuels, chemistry is all around us each and every day of our life. The association of chemistry to our life is practically limitless. So, as we go about our daily activities, we must remember to thank chemistry. After all this we can all finally say that, “CHEMISTRY IS LIFE”!
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