Author Archives: Abdul Wahab

Iron

iron-symbol

  • Symbol: Fe
  • Atomic Number: 26
  • Atomic Weight: 8
  • Melting Point: 1538 °C (2800 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2862 °C (5182 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Iron is a very useful metal used in the modern world. It shapes our building structures and flows in the Earth’s core as a liquid to sustain its geomagnetic field. Iron is the 6th most abundant element in the universe. Its nucleus has 26 protons and 30 neutrons, which is surrounded by 26 electrons.
iron-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Iron is grayish colored shiny and soft metal.
  • It is a conductor of electricity and heat, but not as good as copper and aluminum.
  • Iron can be alloyed with other elements to make it harder, e.g. carbon.
  • It is reactive metal which can easily react with air to form red colored rust.
  • It is a ferromagnetic metal.

Uses

It is difficult to think about the world without iron. Iron has conquered our Earth due to its high strength and abundant supply. Here are some of the uses of iron:

  • The largest percentage of iron is used to manufacture steel, which is used to make high strength structures, e.g. building, vehicles, ships, and airplanes etc.
  • Due to good magnetic properties of iron, it is used in the cores of electric transformers, generators, motors.
  • It is used in the construction of buildings and other mechanically strong structures.
  • It is used by our bodies in the blood streams to transport oxygen to the entire

Where is it found?

Iron is one of the abundant metal on the earth. But due to its reactive nature, it can easily get rusted and reacts with other elements to form different compounds. Most iron that is found in the crust is found in the minerals of iron oxide, which are magnetite and hematite. Iron is also found in large percentage in the meteorites that hit the Earth every day from space.
magnetite-and-hematite

Discovery

The iron age had begun after the bronze age ended. Iron has been known to man from thousands of years ago. People started to make their tools, weapons, and cookware from the iron.

tools-from-iron-age

Iron tool from iron-age.

Facts

  • The largest iron producing country is China, which supplies around 33% of the total produced iron in the world.
  • All the living things contain Iron transports the oxygen in our body.
  • Our Earth’s liquid core is made of liquid iron and nickel that flow very fast to sustain geomagnetic field that protects us from deadly particles and storms of the Sun. (Read more at layers of Earth).
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Hydrogen

hydrogen-symbol

  • Symbol: H
  • Atomic Number: 1
  • Atomic Weight: 1
  • Melting Point: -259 °C (-434 °F)
  • Boiling Point: -252 °C (-423 °F)
  • Discovered by: Henry Cavendish

Hydrogen is the lightest and the first element of the periodic table. Its atomic structure is very simple, which is composed of only one proton, and one electron that orbits around the proton. Hydrogen is present in the body of every living thing, mostly in the form of water. Let’s discover more about this amazing element.
hydrogen-atom

Characteristics and Properties

  • Hydrogen is a colorless and odorless gas that is rarely available in the atmosphere.
  • It is highly flammable gas. When hydrogen is burnt, it gives invisible flame which makes it a very dangerous gas.
  • Hydrogen is found as a diatomic molecule H2 in its free state.

Uses

Despite being a very simple element, hydrogen has a lot of uses. Some of its uses are:

  • NASA, use the hydrogen gas in its rockets as a fuel. When it reacts with oxygen, it produces the very high amount of energy that can lift the rocket. The rocket contains the supply of both liquid hydrogen and oxygen in its fuel tanks.
  • It is used to make ammonia fertilizer for agriculture.
  • It was once used in lighter-than-air balloons because it is the lightest gas that can lift more weight than any other gas. But due to its flammable nature, it no more used in the lighter-than-air balloons.
  • Many high-temperature welding stations use hydrogen gas to weld a wide variety of metals.

Where is it found?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. All the stars you see in the sky including our Sun are made up of mostly hydrogen. They use hydrogen as a fuel in the fusion reaction to produce energy. The gas giants (e.g. Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune) are also made of mostly hydrogen gas.

stars

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in space.

It is also an abundant element here on the Earth. What! Then where I can get this?

Actually, you can’t get the hydrogen in elemental form because it is not freely available on the Earth. It is available in the form of compounds like water, hydrocarbons, hydrides etc. Hydrogen gas is also available in the upper atmosphere but in small quantity because it is so light that it can reach there easily and escape into space.

Discovery

Hydrogen gas was recognized as an element by Henry Cavendish in 1766. He performed an experiment, in which he poured hydrochloric on the zinc metal and collected the gas produced in the reaction. He found that, when that gas was burnt in air, it produced water.

Facts

  • Jupiter is considered to have a core made up of liquid metallic hydrogen. Metallic hydrogen is the hydrogen compressed and heated enough to behave as the liquid metal (like mercury in the thermometer).
  • When acids react with a metal, they produce hydrogen gas.
  • Hydrogen was completely replaced with helium in lighter-than-air balloons after the Hindenburg airship filled with hydrogen caught fire and killed people. (see invention of hot air balloon)
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Gold

gold-symbol

  • Symbol: Au
  • Atomic Number: 79
  • Atomic Weight: 9
  • Melting Point: 1064 °C (1947 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2856 °C (5173 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Gold is one of the precious metals found on the Earth. Its shiny surface has attracted people from ancient times. People have made coins and jewelry from it, but the jewelry from gold is still made today. Gold is a reliable form of the wealth from thousands of years ago.
gold-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Gold is a shiny yellowish color metal.
  • It is corrosion resistant and rustproof.
  • It is a good conductor of electricity and heat.
  • It is a dense and soft metal with high malleability and ductility. Malleable means it can be shaped easily into thin sheets, and ductile means it can be stretched into wires.

Uses

Gold remains one of the most precious metal throughout the history of mankind till today. Before the modern era, people used to make coins, jewelry, and art from the gold. But today, gold has any other uses than the just beauty items. Some uses of gold are:

  • It is a good conductor of electricity and corrosion resistant, so computer chip’s contacts are plated with gold.
  • Gold is still used today for making jewelry and artist items.
    gold-jewelry
  • It is used in medicines, cancer treatment, and dental works.
  • It is often coated on other metals to give them shining and make them corrosion free.

Where is it found?

Gold is very rare metal found on the Earth. Its reactivity is very low, so it is mostly found in its pure form. The places where the gold is likely to be found are undergrounds, sandy-river beds, and in mountains. The most gold producer countries today are Australia and China.

Discovery

Gold has been known to mankind since ancient times because gold is found in its purest form due it’s poor reactivity with other elements. Our history is full of gold in terms wealth, ancient Egyptians had a lot of gold deposits in those days.

Facts

  • South Africa was once the country that was number one gold producer.
  • Gold is so malleable and ductile that its one ounce can be shaped into a sheet having length and width of 300 feet, and its wire can be stretched up to 100 kilometers.
  • Gold sheets can be made thin enough that light can easily pass through them.
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Copper

copper-symbol

  • Symbol: Cu
  • Atomic Number: 29
  • Atomic Weight: 5
  • Melting Point: 1084 °C (1984 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 2562 °C (4644 °F)
  • Discovered by: Known since ancient time.

Copper is a metal that was one of the first metal to be used by mankind. People used to make tools from it to make their living easier. Copper has 29 protons and 34 neutrons in its nucleus. The symbol of copper in periodic table is denoted by “Cu”.
copper-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Copper has reddish brown color and shiny surface.
  • It has very good ductility and malleability means it can be easily shaped into wires and sheets.
  • It is the very good conductor of electricity and heat.

Uses

Copper was used by ancient people to make tools. But, today it is used in wide variety of materials. Some are listed below:

  • About 60% of the produced copper is used to make electrical wires due to its good conductivity.
    Copper wire
  • It is used in microprocessors of the computers, electrical motors, plumbing, and in industrial machinery.
    copper-pipes
  • Copper is used for making brass (an alloy of copper and zinc) and bronze (an alloy of copper and tin).

Where is it found?

Copper is a slow reacting metal, which makes it available in nature in its elemental form. That is the reason that ancient people were able to use the copper. Today copper is mostly extracted from its compounds; copper sulfide and copper carbonate.

Discovery

Copper is present in its elemental form in nature, so people have known about copper from the beginning. Pure copper was used to make different tools, until the age of bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper in which copper is mixed with tin to make it harder.

ancient-bronze-tools

Ancient bronze tools – Bronze is an alloy of copper.

Facts

  • Chile is the big producer of the mined copper worldwide.
  • The name copper was derived from the Latin word “Cuprum”, which means the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is the island from which the most copper was extracted by the Romans.
  • Copper is the second best conductor of the electricity, after the silver.
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Carbon

carbon-symbol

  • Symbol: C
  • Atomic Number: 6
  • Atomic Weight: 12
  • Melting Point: 3550 °C (6442 °F)
  • Boiling Point: 4200 °C (7600 °F)
  • Discovered by:  Known since prehistoric time.

Carbon can be considered as a vital element found on the Earth. All the life forms (animals and plants) that you see around yourself are because of the carbon. Our body is also made of carbon compounds, including our organs, cells, and bones. Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and 4th most abundant element in the universe.
carbon-element

Characteristics and Properties

  • Carbon has the ability to make chemical bonds with itself and form chains. For that reason, carbon can make millions of different compounds with other elements.
  • Carbon has 3 allotropes, which are diamond, graphite, and amorphous carbon. Allotropes are the materials that are made of same elements but their organization of atoms is different.
  • The color of the carbon is different for transparent for carbon and blackish for graphite and amorphous carbon.
  • Diamond is the hardest known substance found in nature.
    diamond-(allotrope-of-carbon)

Uses

The uses of carbon element are countless. Carbon is used by all living things and also used by humans for different purposes. Some uses are:

  • Carbon based fuel (coal, crude oil, gasoline, and methane) are used for transportation in vehicles, electricity generation and industrial purpose.
  • It is used for making plastics, steel, and black ink for inkjet printers etc.
  • Graphite is very soft material, it is used to make lubricants and nibs of your pencils.
    pencil-nib
  • Diamonds are used to beautify the jewelry and are one of the most precious gems.
  • Diamonds are also used in the cutting head of some tools.

Where is it found?

Carbon is found in every place of the Earth, both in elemental, and compound form. Many of us take carbon with us all the time. Guess what? The Pencil, their writing part is made of graphite which is a carbon allotrope.

Carbon is found in many compounds in nature. some of them are carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, gasoline, crude oil, edible oil, and marble for the floor etc.

Discovery

All the life forms on the Earth are known as carbon based life forms, e.g. plants and animals. When plants die, they give wood. So, for the humans, they have always encountered wood in their livings and used it for heating and sheltering.
prehistoric-fire

Facts

  • Our bodies are made of 18% carbon element by mass.
  • Diamond was recognized as the form of carbon in 1772 by Antoine Lavoisier.
  • The name carbon was derived from Latin word “carbo” means charcoal.
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