Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nuclear Energy

Fundamentals of Nuclear Reactions
This is quick explanation of the structure of an atom

NUCLEAR FISSION is a reaction where the atom of an element splits on smaller elements and produce energy, i.e. Uranium splits most of the time in Kripton and Barium.

NUCLEAR FUSION is a reaction where small element atoms "join" together to create a new bigger element releasing energy, i.e. 2 Atoms of Hydrogen "fuse" into 1 atom of Helium.
 Nuclear Fission Reactor

Uranium, many must recall this element in action movies, where the good guy has to find the bad guy that stole uranium; but why it is so important about this element.
Well Uranium is used in Nuclear Energy Facilities, it generates HEAT by nuclear fission. Big uranium atoms are split into smaller atoms. That generates heat plus neutrons (one of the particles that forms an atom). When the neutron hits another uranium atom, that splits, generating more neutrons and so on. That is called the nuclear chain reaction.
This chain reaction can quickly become unstable but the nuclear fuel (uranium) in a reactor can never cause a nuclear explosion the type of a nuclear bomb (A nuclear bomb is quite difficult to build). In Chernobyl, the explosion was caused by excessive pressure buildup, hydrogen explosion and rupture of all containments, propelling molten core material into the environment.

In order to control the nuclear chain reaction, the reactor operators use so-called “control rods”. The control rods absorb the neutrons and kill the chain reaction instantaneously. A nuclear reactor is built in such a way, that when operating normally, you take out all the control rods. The coolant water then takes away the heat (and converts it into steam and electricity) at the same rate as the core produces it so you have ENERGY.

In the pic: Energy of the Nuclear Reaction is removed by water heating it up, that hot water then generates Steam that moves the turbine generating electricity.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pollution? How car engines work

How many of you have cars, I’m sure more than 80% do, but how many really know how the engine works, I’m gonna address just a small kind of engine, Gasoline non-electronical-injection engines. My knowledge is not wide about it but I’m going to share what I know.

The mechanics of an engine is not very complex, just a well timed and precise dance involving all parts to get the most of the combustion power of the fuel. The complex part is the thermodynamics of the process, as I had a low grade on that subject in the university (barely passed) I’m not gonna go further on it.

Im using some gif images to explain it better, mostly ‘cause I suck in flash and failed in my attempts to make good ones, and wikipedia’s are good enough ^^.

Engine Parts

Here are the main parts of the engine

Picture of the general parts of an engine
  • Combustion Chamber
  • Piston
  • Intake and Exhaust Valves
  • Spark Plug
  • Crankshaft
Most car engines work on 4 stroke cycles:
  • Intake Stroke
  • Compression Stroke
  • Combustion Stroke
  • Exhaust Stroke
Engine dance
Animation gif for the stroke of a piston on an engine
The first stroke starts with the piston on top, as the piston goes down the intake valve opens and lets in a mixture of Gasoline and Air. This mixture consists mostly of Air (around 80% or more in volume).

The piston then moves back to the top to compress the mixture; this compression helps the explosion to become more powerful.

As soon the piston is again at the top, the spark plug releases a spark and ignites the fuel and explodes forcing the piston to go back down with force.

As soon the piston has reached the bottom, it moves back up again and the exhaust valve opens to allow the combustion gases leave the body of the engine starting the cycle again.
engine function animation engine
Chemist Approach
A chemist doesn’t worry too much about the mechanics of the cycle, but the combustion phase of it.
Gasoline consists of hydrocarbons with between 4+ carbon atoms (up to 10 sometimes), most of them are aliphatic alcane hydrocarbons.
I will made a comparison with C4 (Butane) and C5 (Pentane) components of gasoline with some “Environment-friendly” substitutes of gasoline.

Regular Gasoline

Gasoline Substitutes

Natural Gas, that consists of Methane (C1) around 85%
CO2 is a pollutant, and its generated in high amounts by motor engines, as you can see in the reactions above, carbon dioxide is generated except on the Hydrogen combustion, the more amount of carbon molecules the fuel has, it generates more CO2.

Some countries started to use Natural Gas instead of gasoline, this a good choice because Methane doesn’t generate a high amount of CO2, BUT still it does generate some.
The perfect fuel in my opinion :D, Hydrogen, as you can see it generates none CO2.

If you want more information related to Combustion reactions or engines just leave me a message.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Have you heard about Trans Fat?

There is a lot of talking around this new term in our diets, is it that bad?, you must have seen fast food dinners with signs of "trans fat free" promoting this new term, but what does it mean? and how does it affect our body.

First of all we need to understand something, overweight is a current and alarming issue in the world, health problems that are carried along overweight come in a big list with "heart diseases" among the main ones.
The primary risk in the heart diseases category is the elevated risk of Coronary heart disease or CHD, im not a doctor but i've read a lot of medicine books, and CHD means that the arteries around the heart get blocked by an acumulation of lipids (cholesterol being one of them).
 But our society gets bombed by the media, and in that process the term "Cholesterol" has been missunderstood, Our body NEEDS cholesterol, it is very important for our cells and its envolved in the producing of some vitamins and hormones in the body, but why-you may ask me- am i saying it is good? when it blocks our arteries?. There,s a simple answer for that, that cholesterol couldnt get to the arteries by itself, it was carried by something else. And THATS the bad guy in all this issue, but its not its fault that it exists, its our own.

There are 2 carriers involved in this process, they are called Lipoproteins, they both are important and essential and have its own mission in our body. They are the LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein).
LDL has the mission to carry lipids from the liver to the cells (like i said cells need cholesterol and its one of the lipids)
HDL has the mission to gather lipids from the cells and tissues and carry it back to the liver.
So clearly they both need to be synchonized so there isnt too much lipid acumulation in the cells or a lack of it.

But what happens when we promote the acumulation of one of them? we take down the balance that our body has.
This is where "TRANS FAT" comes into play, a high amount of Trans fat in our diets, increase the concentracion of LDL in our body and decrease the concentracion of HDL. So in other words, we are telling our body to accumulate fat in our cells with our diet!!!!.

But how to stay away from "trans fat"??, here is another topic that most media wont discuss, there's 2 kinds of TRANS FAT, the natural one, that is in animal (pork fat) and vegetable fat (olive oil, corn oil), its not in high amounts but it is there.
And the other kind, the synthetic one, this is the dangerous one!, it is present mostly in MARGARINE, the margarine is a vegetable oil that has been Hydrogenated in the lab, believe me, i've done this hydrogenation myself and contains a high amount of trans fat!. Be aware!! some butters are made in the lab aswell!
Margarine is used in baking market that being bread, cakes and else.
Most organic vegetable oils that are used in the frying of foods have natural trans fat, but its not necessary to removed them how they do. My thoughts on this, is that synthetic trans fat obtained in the hydrogenation is harder and more expensive than removing it from natural oils, but the world doesnt care about health as much as they should so society has to make changes to fit our desires.

Diets that give you "DONT EAT" advices are really bad, as you can see the way to get healthy is not just eat healthy food, is to find a BALANCE between fat food and non fat food. Every meal is the right amount.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Highschool drop outs?

Ive been on this position: should i go to University to become a Chemist? or should i work to help my family.

Many of you may have or heard of a friend that dropped out school, but what are the reasons that young promising students take that decision.

Reasons are as many as kids dropping out school; many of them would say money problems, or family issues, some even would say that school is not necessary, only a few will accept that its too hard for them, and the list could go on and on.
But what ever the reasons are, this decision shouldn't be taken lightly, any young student that is under the stress of making this important decision must consider further that the reason itself.

Find within yourself the real reason for this decision, don't cover it up with excuses hiding real problems or real feelings, don't say that you think school is not necessary when deep inside you only want to go after a dream and school is holding you back; why is this important, because doenst matter how mature you feel to make that kind of decision, you still need the support of your family, and you will earn that support with confidence, confidence on your decision and the reasons that lead you to it.
I'm sure if you are thinking on dropping school you must have a plan, if you don't start making one, dropping out school is hard, but its even harder to begin empty handed. An advice to stick to your plan? WRITE IT DOWN, don't stop if you think people will laugh at you or wont understand you, you have confidence on your decision right?? if you don't i suggest you to go back thinking of your reasons before you go further.

Even though most parents would disagree on this, don't talk to your parents first!!, they love you but they are more afraid of you making a mistake than trying to understand you.
Talk to your friends first, let them know how you feel and listen to them, they must have thoughts on themselves to share with you, take their advices, open your heart for them like you would want your parents to do for you.

Anything can be achieved in life with confidence, and you need it. Feel confident enough? talk to your parents, and open your mind, they will have a lot to say on this and don't worry, they sure will get upset, but in the end its your decision. Let them know your reasons, do it strongly and don't look down to the floor when you do it, this is not a game, its your future.

Keep all the advices you received, don't give up on learning, you might have dropped out of school but that doesn't mean that you gave up on knowledge, you have many options to keep on learning, correspondence school, online school and who says you can't teach yourself at home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chemist Experience YEAR #1

Science and Technology Faculty.
I remember knowing 5H1T about how the university worked, how to take classes or anything, i was supposed to do it online on a given day depending on the career.
I had to take 7 classes for the semester

  • General Chemistry (i guess it is Chemistry 101)
  • General Chemistry Lab
  • Lineal Algebra (this gave me so much hard time, this is from what i know like Algebra 200, and a freshman in the university i didnt understand a word of it)
  • Physics 101
  • Physics Lab 101
  • Calculus 101
  • Natural Resources (this....this class.....was awsome ^^ we didnt do anything)
From the first day i had trouble, my first class on my first day was at 6:45am, it was Calculus with an old teacher, they guy almost kicked me out of class for checking the time in my cell ^^, i got scared to be honest, so i changed groups with another teacher :)
After that class i was supposed to go to Chemistry Lab, it was early so i stayed enjoying the university view :D. so many cute girls.
Chemist Lab was the class i enjoyed the most, altough the teacher was hard taking us little tests every day.
I dont know if i have bad luck but, every year ive been in a Lab Class ive broken something, my first year was the exception but i almost ACCIDENTALLY burned some guy's face (but it wasnt my fault it really wasnt).
We were doing a practice on powder made with regular sugar, the reaction was initiated by dropping a little of Sulfuric Acid on it. You were supposed to do this under a extraction chamber to avoid smoke to acumulate. As there were only one of those we had to take turns, once my turn was over and i did my little firework i was supposed to clean the tile surface with a lot of water to leave it really clean. But the idiot behind me just pushed me aside not letting me clean it up well (i said the heck with it i dont care) and as soon the guy put his mixture on the tile it exploded in his face without puttin any Sulfuric on it :D

Obviously they first accused me of not cleaning it well, but many saw how the guy just pushed me so at the end the teacher dropped the fault on him.
If u want the experiment im talking about just let me know and ill tell you.

PS: Any of you know why blogger was down?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I had to do it

Well i dont want my blog to be a "youtube funny vids blog", BUT, i couldnt help myself, i want to show you these videos that made me laugh hard.
Give your thoughts about them.

First watch this cute video :)

Now get ready for this epic remake

For those who havent figured out yet why the "my hand is a dolphin" line is funny ^^ just tell me

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brown Widow Spider Encounter

Well today i decided to clean up the mess of my room, but not just hide the trash under the rug, like really deep cleaning, i was taking a break reading some papers i had around dedicing which to throw when in a corner i saw some spider webs.

Im kinda afraid of spiders to be honest, but the fear just comes and goes; this time i was feeling confident so i look closer to find a big spider on the web, quickly grabbed a rolled paper and made it fell.
It was big but it wasnt moving at all, thought it was just playing dead but i think it was either about to die or hurt.

With the piece of paper i took it outside to have a better look of it, cause it was bigger than what i usually see in my bedroom, but then i saw a red hourglass mark on its belly and got scared. I remembered something in my highschool days in biology so i went into google to confirm what i suspected.

Black Widow spider
Black Widow
Brown Widow Spider
Brown Widow

At first i didnt read deep into what i found but clearly the spiders with red hourglass on the belly are the black widow spiders, Wouldnt you get scared? i did, and went back outside to find the spider trying to move so i crushed it with my foot ^^, by the time my foot was on top of it i regretted i didnt take a picture.

Went back to google and found that not just black widows have that mark but also brown widows, still a little scared of thinking there are more in my room :/
After the crushing end of its life i tried to take good pics of the hourglass (pics are not photoshopped btw)
 Is it weird that im scared of little spiders but with big ones i just feel curious?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Decision Epilogue

Almost 2 months until school year is over, my mind was a mess, thinking about what direction would my life take depending on the decision i make; Would i become a electronical geek fixing TV's and DVD's? (being sarcastic, i know you electronics guys do more ^^), or should i become a Pharmacist, with my own drugstore :/.

It also came to my mind the physics or chemistry degrees, but, i didnt want to become a teacher, i hate teaching (back then); and most of physics and chemistry graduates become school teachers.

Then it came another choice, Computer engineering, it was a good option, im good with computers, the downpart? most of my friends were going to study that, and i didnt want to become part of the mass.

But in all this brainstorming, something was clear, i was going to attend to the Technology and Sciencie Faculty. This is where all the engineering degrees were at in the university of my city.
So a bunch of my friends and I started to get ready to take the admission exam (Chemistry, physics, math and some of biology), meanwhile in my mind i was sure i was goin to study either Electronical engineering or Physics degree, part of me wanted chemistry though.
The Schoolyear was over, it was almost 2 months for the admission exam, and still no decision.
Test results came and i qualified, i was ready to sign in and start the university.
In the search of the perfect career for me, i started checking daily the subjects i would be taking in EACH of my options, one of those days i found something i didnt see before, CHEMICAL ENGINEERING What?!, i thought there was only Chemistry degree!!, what?", i kinda liked it but my head was in physics.
D-Day: It was the day i was supposed to turn in my papers to legalize my admission, they gave us a form to fill.
Started to fill it in, and at the bottom i saw:

Mark the career you will be signing in:
Heart was beating, my hand was moving towards electronical engineering, BUT i stopped thinking so much, cleared my head, began to breathe and my heart was somewhere else, somehow that moment i knew deep inside me i wanted to go for the CHEMIST side of my being. So i marked CHEMICAL ENGINEERING on the form.

So here you have, how i decided to study Chemical Engineering, everytime i look back and think if i would've chosen another career, i think about how passionate i feel about chemistry and i wouldnt change my decision if i had the oportunity

Sometimes you just have to stop using your brain and let your guts make you do what you really want...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Just added a new HTML/JAVA SLIDESHOW, its not done though, im still trying to figure out how it works, as you can see my pics are stretched, im new in this HTML Editing, if anyone can offer me some help it would be good, i think there are HTML editing programs?, im doing this with NotePad and google ^^

What do you think, should i keep it? Does it look good?

  Edit: Well i've found a better looking slideshow, im going to put it on tomorrow

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wow, i was smarter as a kid ¬¬

7 fail attempts, not sure why it isnt working, but i have a lot of bloopers and burned fingers :D.

I need some help with the videos though, any good VIDEO EDITING software you guys know?, im not editing with movie maker, i need something more serious.

Im gonna buy gasoline if necesary to get this thing going :D

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