The Importance of Chemistry in Everyday Life – 4 Examples That Prove This Science Is Everywhere

Did you ever wonder why certain foods take longer to cook or how baking soda makes everything fluffier? What about the classic Mentos and Coca Cola trick? How is that possible? Well, there is a plausible scientific explanation for all of these – they are chemical reactions that take place around us every moment – we are just too busy to observe and understand them.

Chemistry occurs all around you, not always in a lab. A chemical reaction or chemical change occurs when matter interacts to generate new products. Chemistry is at work every time you cook or clean. Chemical interactions are what keep your body alive and growing. When you take medicines, light a match, or draw a breath, you will have responses. The following examples of chemical reactions from everyday life are just a small sample of the hundreds of millions of reactions you encounter throughout the day.

Leaves discoloration

Chemistry is clearly an important component of both plants and animals. One of the first ideas we learned about plant life was photosynthesis. It’s a chemical mechanism by which certain plants produce their own nourishment. The presence of a pigment called Chlorophyll causes leaves to seem green, and as its amount diminishes, the leaves appear light yellow.

Photosynthesis is a chemical mechanism that plants use to convert carbon dioxide and water into food (glucose) and oxygen. It is one of the most prevalent and significant everyday chemical reactions since it is how plants create food for themselves and animals and transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. And, in case you were wondering, the reaction’s equation is6 CO2 + 6 H2O + light → C​6H12O6 + 6 O2.

Digestion

The way food gets digested by our bodies is a chemical process as well. In fact, there are many chemical reactions that take place during digestion, which helps our body transform various foods into the nutrients we need to stay healthy.

The moment you start eating food, sugars and other carbohydrates are broken down by an enzyme called amylase, which is found in saliva. This helps turn the food into simpler elements, which can be absorbed by your body and turned into nutrients. Then, once the food reaches your stomach, the stomach walls release a chemical solution called hydrochloric acid (HCL), which gets mixed with the food you ingest and breaks it up even more. At the same time, other enzymes in the stomach will dissolve fat and proteins, so that they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Foods and ingredients

We have to thank chemistry for the vast majority of ingredients we use or foods we eat. Chemistry is everywhere in the kitchen, fridge, grocery store, or restaurants we like to dine at. So, if you like food, this is a good reason to learn the basics of chemistry. Here are a few examples:

·         Salt

Salt is an essential component in the preparation of every sort of food. We can’t imagine a meal without it. Scientifically known as Sodium Chloride (NaCl), it not only adds taste to food but also works as a great preservative, making it an outstanding illustration of the application of chemistry in our life.

·         Baking soda

No one likes to eat a cake that is flat, right? But what causes it to rise?Well, it’s the chemicals in baking soda that we need to thank for it. We use baking soda on a daily basis and had no idea about the science behind it. Baking soda contains CO2, which causes the cake or other baked goods to rise.

·         Coffee

We’ve all powered ourselves with a cup of coffee at work or midnight study sessions to stay alert. How can a cup of coffee accomplish all of this? It’s not magic; it’s just plain chemistry that we come across on a daily basis. Coffee contains adenosine, a substance that inhibits nerve cell activity when your mind signals sleep.

·         Cooking in general

Heat is used in cooking to produce chemical changes in food. As you hard boil an egg, for example, the hydrogen sulfide created by cooking the egg white reacts with the iron in the egg yolk to form a grayish-green ring around it. Another example is the Maillard reaction between amino acids and sugars, which provides a brown hue and a pleasant flavor when you cook meat or baked products.

·         Anaerobic respiration

Anaerobic respiration is a series of chemical processes that enable organisms to get energy from complex molecules without the need of oxygen. When it happens due to yeast and bacteria, it is used in fermentation to create ethanol, carbon dioxide, and other compounds used in the production of cheese, wine, beer, yogurt, bread, and a variety of other popular goods.

Sunscreen

Sunscreen is an essential product that protects us from dangerous UV radiation while also preserving our natural complexion. But why do we mainly apply sunscreen, rather than regular moisturizer? The sunscreen’s organic and inorganic compounds, such as TiO2, block the rays and keep them from reaching deeper layers of skin.

There are three types of ultraviolet lights that affect your skin in various ways that can be prevented with sunscreen:

  • UV-A: can reach the deeper layers of the skin and cause premature aging or even cancer, but is absorbed by the benzophenones, anthranilates, and ecamsules in sunscreen.
  • UV-B: this is the part responsible for tanning and burning your skin; these rays are absorbed by para-aminobenzoic acid, cinnamates, and anthranilates found in sunscreen
  • UV-C: these are entirely absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere,so we don’t need sunscreen to tackle them

Hygiene

We are encouraged to wash our hands prior to actually consuming food, and now that COVID- 19 has affected us, we must wash our hands before and after doing everything. Have you ever noticed how clean your hands can be with only a dab of handwash or soap? Soaps include sodium and potassium fatty acids, which serve as emulsifying agents and remove dirt.

Detergents, on the other hand, operate as surfactants, reducing water’s surface tension so that it may interfere with oils, separate them, and rinse them off.