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Chemistry In Everyday Life

Chemistry in Everyday Life

If you are studying chemistry, then you must have wondered about the importance of chemistry in everyday life. Chemistry is the branch of science which deals with the investigation of the properties and changes of matter. From the way how our body exchanges oxygen to how our universe was created, all have a part of chemistry associated with it.

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Importance of Chemistry in Everyday Life

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Chemicals of Food in Everyday Life

The following chemicals are widely used in food materials.

  1. Colouring agents
  2. Artificial preservatives
  3. Flow stabilisers
  4. Binding substance
  5. Artificial sweetness
  6. Antioxidants
  7. Minerals
  8. Vitamins

These substances do not have nutritional value except vitamins.

Also Read: Important Questions on Chemistry in Everyday Life

Artificial Preservatives: They prevent spoilage of food by stopping the growth of microorganisms. For example, sodium benzoate and sodium meta bisulphate.

Artificial Sweetness: They do not impart any calories to the body since these substances are excreted through urine. For example,

  1. Aspartame: It is used in cool drinks and ice creams.
  2. Alitame: It is 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.

Antioxidants: They prevent the spoilage of food by preventing the oxidation of food. For example,

  1. Butylated hydroxyl tolerance (BHT)
  2. Butylated hydroxyl anisole (BHA)

Dyes are coloured organic compounds that are used to impart colour to various substrates, including paper, leather, fur, hair, drugs and cosmetics. Dyes are classified into natural dyes and synthetic dyes.

Chemistry of Cleansing Agents in Everyday Life

What are soap and detergents?

Soaps are sodium or potassium salt of higher carboxylic acid such as stearic acid, palmitic acid and oleic acid, whereas detergents contain a long chain of alkyl groups. Detergents, in comparison to soaps, can also function in hard water.

Saponification: Alkaline hydrolysis of triesters of glycerol to form soap is known as saponification. Soap does not function in hard water since they precipitate in it.

How do soaps work?

Soaps are generally sodium or potassium salts of long-chain fatty acids. Soap molecules have a hydrophobic as well as a hydrophilic part. While the hydrophilic part clings to the water when washing, the hydrophobic end clings to the dirt particles. Thus, when we pour away the water, the dirt particles wash away with the soap molecules.

Also Read: Cleansing Action of Soaps and Detergents

Types of Soaps

  1. Toilet Soaps: Potassium soaps are softer than sodium soaps.
  2. Floating Soaps: They can be prepared by beating soap bubbles.
  3. Transparent Soaps: They contain soap dissolved in excess of alcohol, and it is evaporated.
  4. Medicated Soaps: They contain soaps by adding little amounts of Dettol, Savlon, etc.
  5. Laundry Soaps: They mainly contain sodium rosinate and borax.

Types of Detergents

Anionic Detergent: In this type, anions act as detergents. For example, sodium lauryl sulphate

Cationic Detergent: In this type, cations act as detergents. For example, cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide.

Types of Detergents

Non-ionic Detergent: They are neutral. The whole molecule acts as a detergent. For example, polyethylene glycol stearate.

Chemistry of Cosmetics in Everyday Life

Cosmetics contain the following categories of chemicals:

  • Emulsifiers: They increase the stability of the emulsion. For example, potassium cetyl sulfate.
  • Preservatives: They are added to cosmetics to increase their shelf life. For example, benzyl alcohol and salicylic acid.
  • Thickeners: They give an appealing consistency. For example, cetyl alcohol and stearic acid.
  • Emollients: They soften the skin by preventing water loss. For example, glycerine and zinc oxide.
  • Glimmer and Shiners: For example, mica, bismuth oxychloride.

Other Examples of Chemistry in Everyday Life

Let us now discuss some common examples of chemistry in everyday life which most of us never knew about.

The Expiration Date on Bottled Drinking Water

Have you ever wondered why there is an expiration date on a bottle of drinking water? After all, it is just water, isn’t it? Well, most of us haven’t even noticed that there is, in fact, an expiration date on the bottle. The idea behind instilling an expiration on bottled drinking water is to standardise its packaging quality.

What the actual expiration date signifies is if the expiration date is up, the taste of the water will be different as there is a chance that the chemicals in the packaging material may ruin the quality of the water.

Elements in the Human Body

We all know that our body is about 60% water, but then what composes the rest of it? Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. These elements compose 96% of the human body. Whereas the rest 4% is composed of about 60 elements. Some of these elements include calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur.

Chemistry in Everyday Life

Sunblock and Sunscreen

There are two kinds of rays from the sun which are particularly bad for us, UV-A and UV-B. A sunscreen’s action, as the name suggests, functions as a screen and offers protection from sunburn which is caused by UV-B. Whereas, a sunblock has more of reflective nature and blocks both UV-A and UV-B radiations.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Which artificial sweetener is used in cool drinks and ice creams?

Aspartame is used in cool drinks and ice creams.

Give an example of an anionic detergent.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is an anionic detergent found in shampoos.

Which chemical is added to increase the shelf life of cosmetics?

Salicylic acid increases the shelf life of cosmetics.

Give an example of cationic detergent.

Cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide is an example of cationic detergent.

Which rays do sunscreens block?

Sunscreens block UV-B rays.
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