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The Chemistry of the Odour of Decomposition

It’s worth taking a look at the decomposition process as a whole. Decomposition can be roughly divided into four stages: the fresh stage, the bloated stage, the active decay stage and the advanced decay stage. Some overviews of the process also add in a final stage, when all that is left of ... mehr

The Key Chemicals in Red Wine

Red wine has been espoused over the years for its supposed health benefits, from claims that it could let us live to 150, to assertions that chemicals within it can help prevent cancer. Whilst these are no doubt a very pleasant means to justify a glass of wine (or several), how correct are ... mehr

Guarding Against Toothache & Premature Ejaculation

Cloves are a spice that you may well have stowed away somewhere in the kitchen; originally from the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, the spice itself comes from the flower buds of the clove tree. It is used to flavour food, imparting a sweet, aromatic flavour, and also one of the common spices ... mehr

Why Can Coriander Taste Soapy?

I wasn’t aware of this until recently, being a fan of coriander myself, but apparently there are quite a few people for whom coriander (referred to as cilantro in the US) has a rather unpleasant soapy, or even metallic, taste. The cause of this has its roots in the chemical composition of c ... mehr

Why Chilli Peppers are Spicy

The idea for this graphic came to me whilst saving the chilli peppers from a forlorn looking, aphid-infested chilli plant that’s probably on its metaphorical last legs. I thought it would be quite interesting to look at the origin of the heat in chilli peppers, and how this can be quantifie ... mehr

What Makes Shampoo Foam?

The third of the ‘Everyday Compounds’ series of infographics looks at sodium lauryl sulfate – a compound the majority of us encounter in our showers every day. What’s this chemical doing in your shampoo and toothpaste, why is it also found in engine degreasers, and why could it also potenti ... mehr

How Do Tanning Lotions Work?

We’re all well versed in the dangers of spending too much time in the sun. A golden tan after a few weeks away in the sun is everyone’s aspiration, but no-one wants to come back from a holiday red as a cooked lobster, hence the need for sunscreen (which we looked at in a previous post). How ... mehr

Cosmetic Chemistry

Lipstick is one of the most commonly used cosmetic products – and a range of chemicals are required for its production. The choice of these ingredients is carefully considered to provide the desired colour, glossiness, and indelibility. A single stick of lipstick will contain several hundre ... mehr

The Chemistry of Permanent Hair Dyes

Today, hair dyes are widely used, either to cover up grey hairs, or simply by those wanting to change their natural hair colour. The chemistry behind how they change the colour of hair can actually get pretty complicated, but this graphic tries to boil it down to the key classes of chemical ... mehr

Acids, Alkalis, and the pH Scale

The pH scale is something we’re all familiar with; most people will remember it from school chemistry lessons. It’s the scale used to rank how strong an acid (or alkali) a solution is. The colours associated with each number correspond to the colour that universal indicator turns in solutio ... mehr

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