Okay, that’s kind of a lie. Please do not coat yourself in soap before entering a burning building. I am not responsible if you do that.

But hey, there’s some truth to the awesomeness of soap!

Julie talked about soap in her blog post found here:

 “So the main ingredients are triglycerides and  alkali. triglycerides are hydrophobic and alkali are hydrophilic. The triglyceride bonds with the dirt, and the alkali stays and washes it off. “

We recently used it in our Flaming Hands lab in a solution with water and methane bubbles. Under many VERY SPECIFIC safety conditions and precautions, the soap helped create a barrier on our hands!Image

This image here illustrates the hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions of soap molecules and shows how this can help form a barrier. Pretty cool, right? Just please don’t set your hands on fire. Please.





Maybe the Wicked Witch was made of styrofoam, and Dorothy threw a bucket of acetone on her! Check out what happens when packaging peanuts and nail polish remover meet:

When the polystyrene dissolves in the acetone, the air in the foam is released, causing it to look like you’re dissolving this massive quantity of material into a small volume of liquid. Pretty cool, right?


Shine Bright Like… Your Teeth?

I need to stop using that joke.

Dhara recently blogged about teeth whiteners! Check it out:

It was pretty interesting to learn about how teeth whiteners work.

“…tooth whiteners contain a bleaching agent which removes the stains on our teeth. hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the main bleaching agents. When this agent is applied to our teeth, oxidizing reactions are made that pierce two layers of our teeth- the enamel and dentin.”

My dad uses products like this to whiten his teeth all the time, but he still drinks coffee and tea, staining his teeth yellow again!

You know, that’s interesting: why do coffee and tea stain teeth in the first place? I found the answer on Colgate’s website! (That’s pretty good marketing, if I say so myself.)

Apparently, your tooth enamel it is not flat and smooth, but actually contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink! Pigments from dark-colored drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda can become embedded in those cracks and ridges. This will stain your teeth yellow! Adding creamer to your coffee won’t help— it still has the same amount of pigments that can seep into your enamel.

Make sure you brush your teeth! Herbal, green, and white teas are less likely to stain your teeth than black tea and coffee, so try those out too.