Common Chemical Compounds

by Carson
Chemistry Lab Experiment Chemist  - deepakrit / Pixabay

There are a lot of elements in our body, our food and everyday life. See what elements and bondings make them.

Our bodies

Our bodies are mostly made of hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, carbon, nitrogen and calcium. You might be surprised these strange things are very common, but they are mostly elements in compounds. For example, hydrogen and oxygen make up most of your body as water. These are also ingredients of RNA and DNA along with sulphur.

The tens of elements in your body as less than 1% are trace elements. Although they are small in quantities, some of them are also important and beneficial. For example, copper, zinc, iodine, iron, etc. We are also slightly radioactive, with extremely trace amounts of radium, uranium and thorium.

Planets’ atmospheres

What we breathe is the air in Earth’s atmosphere. They are made of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, argon and other trace elements including carbon. Although CO2 is small in amount compared to nitrogen and oxygen, it is now warming up our planet. Other gases, such as water vapour, changes in amount due to climate. Water vapour is also a greenhouse gas too.

Mercury has no atmosphere, it has an exosphere instead. It is mostly sodium, oxygen, hydrogen, helium and potassium. Although there is oxygen in its exosphere, it is not breathable as it is too thin compared to Earth’s atmosphere. Venus is very hot because it is abundant in carbon dioxide, which makes up 95% of its atmosphere. Mars also has a lot of carbon dioxide relative to its atmosphere, it is not enough to warm the planet up because the atmosphere is too thin.

For the giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, their atmosphere is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium. Trace amounts of methane is in Uranus and Neptune, making them blue. There are also ammonia (NH3) crystals in Saturn’s atmosphere, making it yellow.

Our lives

We also encounter many kinds of compounds in our everyday life. For example, table salt (NaCl) is very common in our diets. It is also beneficial for our health if we eat a right amount. We see snow and ice if we live in a very cold place or drink an icy drink. They are frozen water, which melts at 0 degrees celsius. We also see chalk in blackboards, and they are made of calcium carbonate.

Moreover, we see a kind of metal that rusts and turns into red. It is iron and it helps transfer oxygen throughout our bodies. If iron rusts, it isn’t an element anymore. It is iron oxide, which makes Mars’s surface red. We use plastic very often and they are polymers, which are giant molecules that are a lot of compounds bound, of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, sulphur and chlorine.

Also, our toothpaste consists of sodium fluoride, which are used to protect our teeth. We use chlorine to add to swimming pools to prevent infections. Papers are from trees, so they are mostly made of organic compounds consisting of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon.

So, molecules in our lives are usually made up of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, chlorine, and so on. We only encounter elements up to uranium in our lives, because heavier elements are very hard to create due to the instability of them.

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