Monday, July 28, 2008

pH crash course

Herein, in as few words as possible, I will attempt to describe what pH is and why every aqueous solution has a pH.

pH is mathematically defined as the negative log of the hydronium concentration. Or:

pH = –log[H3O+]
So, what is H3O+? Simply put, it is the active ingredient of acid. A more concentrated acid will produce more H3O+.
Water spontaneously reacts with itself to form hydronium (H3O+) and hydroxide (OH-):
2H2O <----> H3O+ + OH-
At 25°C, the concentration of hydronium times the concentration of hydroxide is always 1x10-14 moles per liter (M). Mathematically:
[H3O+][OH-]= 1x10-14
To make a long story short, [H3O+] cannot be zero and will never be zero. So, any and all aqueous solutions must have a pH value. Besides, the log of 0 is really big. I mean really, really big.

A neutral solution has equal amounts of hydronium and hydroxide:
[H3O+] = [OH-] = 1x10-7 M (at 25°C)
The pH of a neutral solution is 7 since -log(1x10-7) = 7.

So, it is inaccurate to say a solution does not have a pH.

In addition:

A solution can have a negative pH. For example a pH of -1.0 would correlate to a hydronium concentration of 10M.

Every common usage of pH is at 25°C. pH is temperature dependent. For example a neutral solution of pure water at 100°C has a pH of 6.14!!! Even though the pH is <7, this is neutral solution!!!!

negative log of what, exactly?

I love the show How It's Made. But tonight, I was annoyed. They were showing how aluminum cans are made. Nothing too fancy. What I did find interesting is that after the can is made, it is rinsed out with hydrofluoric acid. The acid etches away some of the metal and any aluminum oxide as a way of preparing it for the sprayed on can liner. The sprayed on can liner puts a barrier between my beer and the aluminum metal.

OK, so what annoyed me? The narrator said that after the acid bath, the cans were rinsed 4 times with deionized water "which does not have a pH."

For those of you in the know, I'm sure you will join in my annoyance with how basic chemical concepts have been totally ignored.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, don't worry. I'm going to write a post about it in a day or two.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fermentation Friday

Mike and John, the Dudes of Brew Dudes are hosting the monthly Fermentation Friday. This month the topic is Beginner Homebrewing Tips. Check it out for some very useful info.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

and then there were four....

Sorry for the post on personal matters, but this is my blog after all.

My children's goldfish died last night. It was 2. Dori the Goldfish was preceded in death by Nemo, whom Dori killed less than a week after I liberated both from PetCo. Dori was great at reorganizing rocks and getting pissed off when the aquarium light was turned on.

I gotta be honest. I never liked that fish. It cost me $0.29 and it wasn't worth it. Let me tell you the story:

One day, while my children were taking naps, I decided to surprise them. We had talked for a while about getting some fish. I decided this would be a great time to get some fish. So, while they slept, I dashed to PetCo and purchased a 5 gallon aquarium and 2 goldfish.

I was sucessful in surprising them. They were ecstatic. They were allowed to name the fish. The predictable monikers were Dori and Nemo. Within a week, Dori had bullied Nemo to death. Life and death lesson #1. We had a burial (i.e. flushing). Thankfully, the kids didn't take it too hard. Killing Nemo made me not like her. That feeling never went away.

Fast forward to yesterday. Dori, being the cheap goldfish she was died. Today we had a second burial (i.e. flushing) and again the kids were emotional pillars. I don't think they liked Dori either. That makes me wonder when the last time was that we fed her. hmmmm. Oh well, gotta go on living. Can't dwell in the past.

While the kids dealt with it OK, they also wanted a new fish. Since I had invested nearly $20 in a tank, I agreed.

After naps we headed off to PetCo. This time with a little professional assistance we picked out 4 small fish that aren't jerks. We got two Zebra Danios:
One Red Wag Platy:

and one Painted Platy.

So we now have 4 fish and no one has killed anyone. So far so good....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Methylene chloride

I've always wondered and now I am asking the world: Why does methylene chloride hurt when I get it on my skin? It's especially bad under a ring.

Here's another question, what is your preferred name for CH2Cl2?

Monday, July 14, 2008

This Bud's for someone else

I have nothing against Belgium. Nor do I have a dispute with their brewing tradition. Far from it.[1] Belgium is great for beer even if most Americans don't even know where it is.[2] What annoys me is that a Belgium company now owns (or will soon own) America's largest brewery.

Anheuser-Busch, while not a brewer of finely crafted brews[3], is an American institution. And now, it's owned by Europeans.

I have enjoyed many an A-B beer. Many. Now, I am less inclined, in fact, not inclined at all to drink a beer that sold out this badly.

Sure, business is important, but what about being true to those who built you up in the first place: The American Beer Drinker (ABD).[4] Thanks for the kick in the nuts you greedy share-holders and executives. You may as well get a job in the gasoline industry. That's where a lot of money can be made screwing over the American consumer.

For InBev and the Belgium investors, good for you. I hope it works out. For those who sold out, I hope you drown in a vat of beer because you couldn't drink it all.

P.S. I will no longer voluntarily consume an A-B product. That should teach them.

[1] Not a sentence.
[2] It's 2nd behind France in closeness to England.
[3] this point could be argued... even by me. But then, I argue with myself too much.
[4] Oh, so that's what that means.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Carbon Tet is back on the air

Greg is back and posting again at Carbon Tet. That's good, because he usually[1] has something worth reading.

Thanks Greg.

[1] I would say 'always' but it's nice to have the freedom to post completely worthless stuff every now and then. This blog is a perfect example of worthless stuff.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tough decision time.

Time to make some tough decisions. If you will notice, to the right there are a number of blogs that I read. Well, OK, I try to read them, but some blogs have sadly become defunct or nearly so.

It is time (regretfully for some) to cull the list and remove those who are not actively posting. I am removing the following from my list[1]:

Carbon Tet: It was fun and all too brief.
Jungfreudlich: My German speaking friend. Life got in the way. Please come back.
Liberal Arts Chemistry: Incredibly good insight into a world like mine. I have valued your thoughts.
Chemical Musings: Milo closed shop of his own volition. I can't argue with that. Thanks for the ride.
Ithaca Beer Brewers Blog
: Good stuff about brewing, but nothing since May.
Dylan Stiles: The Dylan of Tenderbutton fame that started it all (I think). It just ain't the same.
Chembark: This is tough. I have the magnet and everything. I met the author in Boston. I hope this is temporary.


A Synthetic Environment
: This has always been one of my favorite blogs. I am NOT going to remove it at this time, but I may have to eventually. If I do, I will be sad.

Farewell, my friends. I will continue to monitor these blogs, but will remove them from my list for now.
So, who wants to be my friend and have their blog listed on my list?

Here's one I am going to add. Lisa-tastrophies. She writes good stories and I like to read good stories. I found her blog through Matt's blog.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I added Chemistry and Cooking recently. Sorry, Taitauwai, for not mentioning it in the original post.

[1] If any of these blog authors are still around and do not want to be removed, let me know. But please, post something. We like what you write.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

ooooh! I feel so naughty.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

The average is 10%, but wow, 4.6%! That make me feel like a sailor. I thought I would be around 0.005%. Oh well.... jackass!!!!