Examples of Chemistry in Daily Life

Cleaning supplies
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Chemistry is a big part of your everyday life. You find chemistry in daily life in the foods you eat, the air you breathe, cleaning chemicals, your emotions and literally every object you can see or touch. Here's a look at 10 examples of everyday chemistry. Some common chemistry may be obvious, but others might surprise you.

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Elements in the Human Body

Human head
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Your body is made up of chemical compounds, which are combinations of elements. While you probably know your body is mostly water, which is hydrogen and oxygen, can you name the other elements that make you, you?

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Chemistry of Love

Love chemistry
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The emotions that you feel are a result of chemical messengers, primarily neurotransmitters. Love, jealousy, envy, infatuation, and infidelity all share a basis in chemistry.

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Why Onions Make You Cry

Cutting onion
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They sit there, so harmless-looking on the kitchen counter. Yet as soon as you cut an onion, the tears begin to fall. What is it in onions that makes them burn your eyes? You can be sure everyday chemistry is the culprit.

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Why Ice Floats

Ice water
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Can you imagine how different the world around you would be if ice sank? For one thing, lakes would freeze from the bottom. Chemistry holds the explanation for why ice floats, while most substances sink when they freeze.

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How Soap Cleans

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Soap is a chemical that mankind has been making for a very long time. You can form a crude soap by mixing ashes and animal fat. How can something so nasty actually make you cleaner? The answer has to do with the way soap interacts with oil-based grease and grime.

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How Sunscreen Works

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Sunscreen uses chemistry to filter or block the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays to protect you from a sunburn, skin cancer, or both. Do you know how sunscreen works or what an SPF rating really means?

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Why Baking Powder and Baking Soda Make Foods Rise

Baking soda
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You can't interchange these two important cooking ingredients, even though they both cause baked goods to rise. Chemistry can help you understand what makes them different (and what to do if you run out of one, but have the other in your cabinet).

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Fruit That Ruins Gelatin

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Jell-O and other types of gelatin are an example of a polymer that you can eat. Some natural chemicals inhibit the formation of this polymer. Simply put, they ruin Jell-O. Can you name them?

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Can Bottled Water Go Bad?

Water bottles

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Food goes bad because of chemical reactions that occur between food molecules. Fats can become rancid. Bacteria grow that can make you sick. What about products that don't contain fat? Can bottled water go bad?

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Is It Okay To Use Laundry Detergent in the Dishwasher?

The wrong detergent in your dishwasher could cause it to overflow with soap suds.
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You can apply chemistry to decide when and where to use household chemicals. While you might think detergent is detergent, so it's interchangeable from one application to another, there are some good reasons why laundry detergent should stay in the washing machine.