Chemistry Questions You Should Be Able to Answer

If you study physics, you should be able to explain why the sky is blue. If biology is your thing, you ought to be able to answer where babies come from. Chemistry doesn't have any great standard question, but there are some everyday phenomena you should be able to explain.

01
of 10

Man crying while chopping onions
Fuse/Getty Images

Even better, know how to prevent the tears.

02
of 10

Moutains and Ice Floating on the Sea, Glacier Bay National Park, USA
Dave Bartruff/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If ice didn't float, lakes and rivers would freeze from the bottom up, basically causing them to solidify. Do you know why solid ice is less dense than the liquid?

03
of 10

This trefoil is the hazard symbol for radioactive material.
This trefoil is the hazard symbol for radioactive material. Cary Bass

You do realize not all radiation glows green and will mutate you, right?

04
of 10

Bubbles
Bubbles. andrea, morguefile.com

You can wet your hair all you want, but that won't get it clean. Do you know why soap works? Do you know how detergents work?

05
of 10

Skull and Crossbones
The skull and crossbones is used to indicate the presence of a toxic or poisonous material. Silsor, Wikipedia Commons

Do you know better than to mix bleach and ammonia or bleach and vinegar? What other everyday chemicals pose a hazard when combined?

06
of 10

Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves. Tony Roberts, morguefile.com

Chlorophyll is the pigment in plants that makes them appear green, but it isn't the only pigment that is present. Do you know what affects the apparent color of leaves?

07
of 10

Nugget of native gold from the Washington mining district, California.
Nugget of native gold from the Washington mining district, California. Aramgutan, Wikipedia Commons
First, you should know the answer is 'yes' and then be able to explain why it's completely impractical.

08
of 10

Snow Storm
Snow Storm. Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Does it do any good? How does it work? Are all salts equally effective?

09
of 10

Bleach
Bleach. Mark Gallagher, Wikipedia Commons

Do you know how bleach works?

10
of 10

Photograph of graphite, one of the forms of elemental carbon.
Photograph of graphite, one of the forms of elemental carbon. U.S. Geological Survey
No, you don't need to be able to list every single one. You ought to be able to name the top three without thinking. It's good to know the top six.