Do you know that our body is made of chemicals and everything surrounding us is made of chemicals as well? Moreover, everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell relate to chemistry and chemical matters. Actually, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling concern complex series of chemical reactions and interactions in everyone’s body. And tons of changes we discover around the world are caused by chemical reactions.
So, stop thinking that chemistry just happens in laboratories. It appears everywhere and occurs in our daily life. And this post helps you understand more about this field.
First, learn what chemical reaction is
When making mention of the chemicals, people usually think about toxic things such as acid, drain cleaner, bleach, etc. Of course, you’re not wrong because they’re clearly chemicals.
A chemical is a material that has a particular chemical composition. A chemical reaction is known as a process where a set of chemical substances responds with each other to lead to different transformations. The first substances used the reaction are generally called reactants while the last ones formed after the reaction are defined as a product. Depending on the reaction is started with or without energy, there are two distinct types including spontaneous reaction (happens on its own) and non-spontaneous reaction (needs energy for operation).
The chemical reactions occur more than you think. For instance, when eating food, our body uses it as the chemical energy and then turn it into the molecules that the body need to live. This process is called digestion.
And below are a couple of examples of the chemical reactions in our daily life that you might not notice in the past.
Some chemical reactions that we face every day
Photosynthesis is a familiar chemical reaction wherein plants produce their own food. This happens in presence of sunlight and other raw materials, especially water and carbon dioxide. Then the chlorophyll pigment collects the light energy from sunlight which is transformed into glucose via the phenomenon of photosynthesis.
6 CO2 + 6 H2O + Light Energy ➜ C6H12O6 + 6 O2
Do you know that performing physical movements is related to the chemical reaction? This process needs energy that is produced by aerobic respiration. Breathing helps to destroy glucose into water, energy, and carbon dioxide in the form of adenosine triphosphate. In short, it is the opposite of photosynthesis.
C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2+ 6H2O + Energy (36 ATPs)
If aerobic respiration is contrary to the photosynthesis, the anaerobic respiration is the opposite of the aerobic respiration. It’s described as a set of chemical reactions that permits cells to obtain energy from intricate molecules without oxygen.
When you perform prolonged and intense exercise, your body cells carry out anaerobic respiration. This process is responsible for muscle cramps and lactic acid synthesis. It’s also observed in some yeast, bacteria, and other organisms. Against the aerobic type, the anaerobic respiration breaks down glucose in the absence of oxygen, producing carbon dioxide, energy, and ethanol.
C6H12O6 → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2 + energy
One of the most typical examples of the anaerobic respiration is fermentation. It’s the conversion of intricate substances to simpler ones via anaerobic conditions. For instance, wine produced from fruits is a result of yeast fermentation of alcohol while the beer is from grain. Antibiotics are acquired through fermentation by some bacteria and molds. Leavened bread is a product of yeast fermentation. Vinegar, yogurt, and cheese are obtained via bacterial fermentation.
Burning of fuels is another obvious and familiar chemical reaction in our daily life. Every day as you drive to school or work, you’re burning gas. Or you burn wood for a campfire or use a gas stove for cooking. All are called combustion, which happens as oxygen and other substances combine, creating heat and often light.
C3H8 + 5O2 → 4H2O + 3CO2 + energy
The above chemical equation is found in some fireplaces and gas grills.
Instead of occurring violently and quickly like combustion does, some chemical reactions take a long time to happen. And it’s called rusting. This process results from an oxidation reaction when oxygen and iron combine to create iron oxide, forming a red or brown color. For example, an iron turns a red or brown color when it’s exposed for a long time. And below is the equation for the iron’s rusting.
Fe + O2 + H2O → Fe2O3. XH2O
Gastric acid is formed by hydrochloric acid and huge quantities of sodium chloride and potassium chloride that is produced by the cells in the peptic glands. It helps to change pepsinogen to pepsin that causes the modification of the proteins in the stomach. Besides, it eliminates the micro-organisms in the food before they can badly affect your health. What’s more, the hydrochloric acid helps to neutralize the acid in the food when you eat, maintaining the level of acid and alkalinity and keeping you healthy.
Perspiration is known as a way that our body cools itself. Body odor mostly comes from the Apocrine glands, which are in ears, armpits, genitals, breasts, and hair follicles that turn into active at the beginning of puberty. Depending on the various presence of proteins and fatty acids in the body, the sweat that these glands deliver has a slight yellow color. And the bacteria that grow on the skin destroy the emission of the Apocrine glands and form smelly odors. That’s why you can smell different odors from different people.
8.Soap and stain removers
Soap is made by the reaction between an alkali and fatty acid. This process generates a molecule with one hydrophilic and one lipophilic ends. Both get absorbed in the soap and are often washed away with water, leaving a clean surface. Soap and stain removers work as emulsifiers which permit water and oil to mix. Thanks to the oily mixture, difficult stains can be removed after applying soap or stain removers with water.
In a word, there are tons of chemical reactions in our daily life. No matter what you’re cooking, fermenting, burning, sourcing, etc., you always face them every day. Therefore, don’t mind updating necessary information about this field so that you can understand the importance of chemistry in life.