Chemical Reactions That Made a Big Impact on the World
Chemistry surrounds our lives from everywhere. Right from the food that we eat, the air we inhale, the products that we use to the metabolic activities within our body, you can find its applications as predominant. Though the constant chemical reactions that occur within our body and around us go unnoticeable, certain chemical reactions have truly changed our world.
Take a look at them:
- Polymerization of polyethylene
- Synthesis of urea
- CFCs as refrigerants
Now Go In details with above points:
Polymerization of polyethylene
Nearly 30% of the things that we use today are made from plastic which consists long-chain organic molecules referred to as polyethylene. As they are easy to mold, lightweight, hygienic, and resistant to heat and chemical attacks, they have become a ubiquitous material in our everyday life. In 1933, polyethylene was discovered by two scientists of Imperial Chemical Industries Research Laboratory while trying to react ethylene and benzaldehyde. By 1937, plastic started to be used as the insulating material around wires and also in radar components. However, with the end of the 1960s, manufacturing industry began using it in bottles, furniture, automobile parts, plastic bags, etc.
Synthesis of urea
Until the mid of 18th-century, vitalism theory was governed as the basis of identifying a living being. It stated that the body constituents of a living organism cannot be formed from any nonliving component. But this belief was discarded with the accidental discovery of urea in the lab. This was done by the German scientist Friedrich Wohler who was trying to synthesize ammonium cyanate in the lab. However, when he mixed silver cyanate and ammonium chloride together, the result was a white crystal which he later identified as urea. At that time, it was already known to the scientific world that urea is one of the basic components of human excretory material. Thus, the theory of vitality became futile. Wohler’s discovery later became the foundation for the field of organic chemistry.
The process of Polymerase Chain Reaction was given by Kary Mullis in 1983, for which he was also awarded the Nobel Prize. Under this technique, a DNA is heated so that it separates into two single strands. Then, primers can be attached to the individual strands. After this, the Enzymes called DNA polymerase is attached at the primer sites which results in reapplication of the particular strand. By repeating this process over a number of times, a replica of the original DNA can be formed.
This method allows forensic experts to detect the criminal even if a trace of the genetic material was left at the crime spot. Besides this, PCR is also used by medical researchers to detect the cause of a disease. Beyond these, it is now a prevalent technique in biochemistry labs worldwide.
CFCs as refrigerants
Artificial refrigeration technique has been used since the early 1800s. But until the beginning of 19th century, there was a huge risk involved in this as most of the refrigerants (substances used to move heat outside the refrigerators) were either highly toxic or highly flammable. There had been many incidences when people died due to leakage of refrigerants.
To solve this problem, Frigidaire, Dupont, and General Motors collectively invented Freon, a mixture of a class of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It was so safe that its inventors inhaled it in front of a mass that gathered during an advertising campaign. However, as it began to be used an essential household item, this chemical compound started reacting with the ozone layer of the atmospheric. The fact is when exposed to ultraviolet light, CFCs give off a chlorine atom which is highly reactive and catalyzes the breakdown of ozone (O3) to molecular oxygen (O2). Today, CFCs have been banned by the Montreal Protocol and are no longer used as a refrigerant and has been replaced by a similar class of compounds known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
These were a few chemical reactions that made a great impact on our lives. Being a student of chemistry, we suggest you explore more such facts by going through the various research journals and books. However, if your pending academic projects are not letting you do this, take help from our experts. Just ask us-“do my assignment”, and we will not leave any stone unturned to compose a high-quality document that will let you score well.
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