Carbon

Achievements of a wandering mind

Many a times you must have experienced in your life that you cannot recall a certain incident, name of a person or a book or author although at other times you remembered it so well. In those circumstances, the harder you try to recall more it eludes you. It is not the case of poor memory or age as it happens with everyone at one time or another. You leave it frustrated and become busy in some other work and in a flash the things will come to your mind. The same has happened to many great scientists and authors.… Read More »Achievements of a wandering mind

Elements necessary for humans

At present there are 118 elements listed in the periodic table. Some of these elements are commonly found on the earth in the form of ores. Some are radioactive and have very short half lives. Many such elements have been synthesized in the laboratory and live for a very short time. Human body like other things existing is made of compounds which are made from the elements. Out of these 118 only some elements are connected with the human body. Although elements as such don’t make up the body it is the combined form that is molecules constitute the human… Read More »Elements necessary for humans

Optical Isomerism

Everything is identical about these twins. Number of atoms, type of atoms are same. Only difference is the spatial arrangement of atoms or groups of atoms attached to the carbon atoms. There is one more trait of these twins-they are mirror images of one another. They are called stereoisomers. Stereo means spatial. There is a slight differences in the reactivity of these members. One very interesting property of these molecules is that they rotate the light passing through their solution in equal and opposite directions called Levo and Dextro. When such compounds are synthesized in the laboratory, we obtain both… Read More »Optical Isomerism

Bacteria in Oilfields

Bacteria can thrive on almost anything and adapt themselves to very diverse environments. They can eat subsist on substances like cellulose which we humans cannot assimilate. They can breakdown poisonous gases like hydrogen sulfide and absorb nitrogen from atmosphere and fix them into the roots of many plants which plants use as fertilizer. Bacteria can even breakdown crude oil. Crude oil consists of millions of hydrocarbons which are composed from carbon and hydrogen. These compounds range from the simplest molecule called methane made from 1 carbon atom to giant molecules containing even more than 50 carbon atoms. Many of these… Read More »Bacteria in Oilfields

A Soccer Ball and C60 Molecule

Carbon, a small atom with atomic weight of 12 amu and atomic number of 6, is the element on which the life on this planet is based. Carbon atom forms 4 single electron bonds of sp3 configuration and hence can combine with 4 different atoms including carbon atoms. Thus it can form giant or macromolecules often found in nature. Some examples are carbohydrates, hydrocarbons, proteins, lipids and so on. Carbon as such exists in two allotropic forms namely diamond and graphite with very different physical properties. While diamond is the hardest material and inert towards chemicals, graphite is active, chemically… Read More »A Soccer Ball and C60 Molecule

Graphene: Size Zero Allotrope

Carbon is the atom on which the life on the earth is based. Though it is not a complicated element having only 6 atomic number, it ability to form compounds with hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and host of other atoms and its ability for catenation makes it the most distinguished element for us. We owe our existence to it. Most of the macromolecules which are bodies are composed of contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. This simple element show another very surprising properties. One of them is the allotropy. Two allotrope are two different arrangements in which an element can exist. Till… Read More »Graphene: Size Zero Allotrope

Cyclohexane: A Chemical Chair

Cyclohexane belongs to the category of hydrocarbons called naphthenes. It has a chemical formula of C6H12. Naphthenes are found in crude oil. Most abundant are mono ring compounds of which cyclohexane is the perfect example. In fact, the poly ring naphthenes are found in the high boiling fractions of naphtha and the name seems to have been derived from naphtha. The term Naphthene has become almost redundant except in petroleum industry.The other fractions present in the crude oil are paraffins which are long chain alkanesĀ  with formula CnH2n+1. For example, when n=6, then we have hexane with formula C6H14. High… Read More »Cyclohexane: A Chemical Chair

Buckyballs, Fullerenes & Diamondoids

Carbon has a special place amongst all the elements. It is king of covalent compounds and a separate branch of chemistry called organic chemistry is devoted to the carbon compounds. These organic compounds are formed by the bonds formed between carbon and carbon or carbon and hydrogen or oxygen atoms. Carbon can form 4 covalent bonds and hence there are endless possibilities of compounds. Organic compounds are major constituents of our bodies and food. Carbon has atomic number of six. This means that it has 4 electrons in the outer L shell and thus is tetravalent and combines with 4… Read More »Buckyballs, Fullerenes & Diamondoids