Description

Chemistry produces materials and releases energy by ionic or electronic rearrangements. Three structure types affect the ease with which a reaction occurs. In the Earth's crust, solid crystals change chemically only with extreme heat and pressure, unless their fixed ions touch moving fluids. On the other hand, in living things, liquid crystals are changed (and reactions are therefore controllable) with small alterations in temperature, pH or oxygen levels. In the atmosphere, the gaseous fluids move easily but, being so 'dilute', they, like solids, need extreme energy such as ultraviolet radiation or electrical storms if they are to make new materials.

More from this issue

This article outlines the reasons why practical work is declining in schools. Microscale chemistry is put forward as a sustainable way of...

Jan 2011
Journal Article

Questionnaires were completed by 5044 12-year-old pupils in Oxfordshire state schools and initially used to identify classes where the pupils were...

Jan 2011
Journal Article

The findings from the Improving Practical Work in Science (IPWiS) evaluation suggest that the project can, and did, bring about noticeable...

Jan 2011
Journal Article