New colors, a new world of pigments continue to evolve from accidental blue discovery

A bright blue compound that was first discovered by accident seven years ago in an Oregon State University laboratory – and has since garnered global attention – has now led to the more rational and methodical development of other colors that may ultimately change the world of pigments.

Findings on the newest pigments, in shades of violet and purple, were just published in Inorganic Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

More important, researchers say, is that progress made since the first accidental discovery of this family of inorganic compounds has allowed intensive science to take the place of luck. What’s emerging is a fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved in these “trigonal bipyramidal” compounds.

As the basis for pigments, they are quite remarkable.

Compared to the flaws that exist in many of the compounds they replace, they are all thermally stable, chemically inert, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. For commercial use, they also have the extraordinary characteristic of reflecting heat, which is highly unusual for dark colors and potentially of great value for saving energy.

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I find it interesting that Peridot doesn’t consider Pearls to be Gems and I think it speaks to something the fandom has been wrestling with for a long time: the fact that pearls are an organic substance.

The show has spent a lot of time talking about how Gems are formed in Kindergartens, through massive amounts of time and pressure. Pearls, though, form in a relatively short period of time (1 or 2 years) and are formed not by pressure, but by consecutive layers of organic/inorganic crystalline compounds.

I can’t help but think this is related to the fact that Peridot described Pearls as “made-to-order:” that perhaps Pearls are made in a distinctly different way than other Gems, in a much shorter timeframe, in such an artificial manner that other Gems don’t even see it as real Gem formation

Mercury(II) Thiocyanate:  The Pharaoh’s Serpent

Mercury(II) thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) is an inorganic chemical compound, the
coordination complex of Hg^2+ and the thiocyanate anion. It is a white powder. It will produce a large, winding “snake” when ignited, an effect known as the Pharaoh’s Serpent.  The first synthesis of mercury thiocyanate was probably completed in 1821 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius:

  • HgO + 2 HSCN → Hg(SCN)2 + H2

Evidence for the first pure sample was presented in 1866 prepared by a chemist named Otto Hermes. It is prepared by treating solutions containing mercury(II) and thiocyanate ions. The low solubility product of mercury thiocyanate causes it to precipitate from solution. Most syntheses are achieved by precipitation:

  • Hg(NO3)2 + 2 KSCN → Hg(SCN)2 + 2KNO3 

Mercury thiocyanate was formerly used in pyrotechnics causing an effect known as the Pharaoh’s serpent or Pharaoh’s snake. When the compound is in the presence of a strong enough heat source, a rapid exothermic reaction is started which produces a large mass of coiling serpent-like solid. An inconspicuous flame which is often blue but can also occur in yellow/orange accompanies the combustion.

Giffed by: rudescience  From: This video by Nile Red

POWERLISTING, a series of posts to help you decide what superpower is right for your character, or simply just to give you ideas of what you want in case your mind is blank (with links included for a more in-depth approach).


Definition: the ability to create, control, and/or generate water, inorganic compound with liquid, gas (steam, water vapour), and solid (ice) states, including changing them from one state to other.

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Some potassium permanganate what I used for oxidation of an alkyl aromatic compound. 

Potassium permanganate is an inorganic chemical compound with the chemical formula KMnO4 and it’s a strong oxidizing agent (just an example: it you mix it with glycerin it will simply ignite). It even oxidizes an alkyl groups (with a benzylic hydrogen) on an aromatic ring, e.g. toluene to benzoic acid: 5 C6H5CH3 + 6 KMnO4 + 9 H2SO4 —-> 5 C6H5COOH + 14 H2O + 3 K2SO4 + 6 MnSO4


This is Nitrogen triiodide, an inorganic compound that’s so unstable the lightest touch can cause it to ignite and explode.

Simple cooking methods flush arsenic out of rice

Cooking rice by repeatedly flushing it through with fresh hot water can remove much of the grain’s stored arsenic, researchers have found — a tip that could lessen levels of the toxic substance in one of the world’s most popular foods.

Billions of people eat rice daily, but it contributes more arsenic to the human diet than any other food. Conventionally grown in flooded paddies, rice takes up more arsenic (which occurs naturally in water and soil as part of an inorganic compound) than do other grains. High levels of arsenic in food have been linked to different types of cancer, and other health problems.

Andrew Meharg, a plant and soil scientist at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, wondered whether cooking the grain in a different way might help to lessen the health risk. The standard method for making rice — boiling it in a pot until it soaks up all the liquid — binds into place any arsenic contained in the rice and the cooking water.

The findings are reported in PLoS ONE1.

Rice is the staple food of many people, but it can contain dangerous levels of arsenic. Jacob Silberberg/Panos

A large crystal of potassium ferrocyanide. 

Potassium ferrocyanide is the inorganic compound with formula K4[Fe(CN)6] * 3H2O. At us it is called yellow blood salt, what comes from it’s historical production. Long ago it was manufactured from organically derived nitrogenous carbon sources, iron filings, and potassium carbonate. Common nitrogen and carbon sources were torrified horn, leather scrap, offal, or dried blood.

A famous reaction with this compound involves treatment with ferric salts to give Prussian blue [Fe4[Fe(CN)6]3].

Headcanon Wednesday: Baby Turians

Been a while since I’ve been able to do a headcanon Wednesday post.  It feels great to be back. :D

Infant turians don’t have the thick metallic plates or the reflective skin cuticle that their elders do. Instead, they’re born with a layer of fine inorganic fibers; when damp, the fibers are transparent and lie flat to the body, but as the infant dries off they turn into a thick, silver-white down. To put it briefly: baby turians are fluffy. (While gestating, turian mothers generally develop strong cravings for plants that are high in certain minerals, which are then passed to the fetus; during prenatal development, the fetus turns those inorganic compounds into the down.)

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Preparation of an amino acid ester hydrochloride with thionyl chloride. 

Thionyl chloride is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula SOCl2. It is a moderately volatile colourless liquid with an unpleasant acrid odour. It is toxic and will react violently with water to produce toxic gases, it is also listed as a Schedule 3 compound as it may be used for the production of chemical weapons. However, it is used widely in laboratories as a chlorinating reagent, it converts carboxylic acids to acyl chlorides.

UGA research links inorganic mercury exposure to damaged cell processes

University of Georgia research has found that inorganic mercury, which was previously thought to be a less harmful form of the toxic metal, is very damaging to key cell processes.

This study is the first to compare the effects of inorganic and organic mercury compounds at the biochemical, physiological and proteomic levels in any model organism, according to the study’s lead author Stephen LaVoie, a microbiology doctoral student. Published in December in the Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, the research looked at how inorganic and organic mercury affected specific molecular processes.

Inorganic mercury from the ore cinnabar was used for centuries against infections; in modern times, humans synthesized organic mercurials as antimicrobials, such as merthiolate.

“Today, most human exposure to inorganic mercury is from dental fillings, and organic mercury exposure is from methylmercury in fish,” said study co-author Anne Summers, a microbiology professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Stephen P. LaVoie, Daphne T. Mapolelo, Darin M. Cowart, Benjamin J. Polacco, Michael K. Johnson, Robert A. Scott, Susan M. Miller, Anne O. Summers. Organic and inorganic mercurials have distinct effects on cellular thiols, metal homeostasis, and Fe-binding proteins in Escherichia coli. JBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 2015; 20 (8): 1239 DOI: 10.1007/s00775-015-1303-1