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Scientific Questions Thread

Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 9:31 pm
by Jiang Zhi
This is a thread for general questions about biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, environmental science, etc.

Anyway, here's the first question I was wondering.....

How does Tylenol work?

Re: Scientific Questions Thread

Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 9:57 pm
by JCC
Jiang Zhi wrote:How does Tylenol work?


Tylenol contains the chemical acetaminophen. According to www.medicinenet.com :

Acetaminophen belongs to a class of drugs called analgesics (pain relievers) and antipyretics (fever reducers). The exact mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not known. Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold, that is, by requiring a greater amount of pain to develop before it is felt by a person. It reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center of the brain. Specifically, it tells the center to lower the body's temperature when the temperature is elevated. Acetaminophen was approved by the FDA in 1951.

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 4:11 pm
by Elven Fury
if theres a chemical make up for water then what the chem formula for fire?

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:12 pm
by Ranbir
Elven Fury wrote:if theres a chemical make up for water then what the chem formula for fire?


Water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen.

Fire is a 'rapid, persistent chemical change that releases heat and light and is accompanied by flame...' To my knowledge there is no chemical formula for fire.

I'm assuming you thought there might be, as in water and fire considering to be the "four elements" ?


I'm afraid thats all the info I can give.

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:26 pm
by Ts'ao Jian
i think only solids, liquids, and gases have a chmical makeup. fire is, i believe, plasma, and i;m not sure plasma has a makeup. feel free to correct me if i'm wrong.

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 8:55 pm
by Ranbir
Ts'ao Jian wrote:i think only solids, liquids, and gases have a chmical makeup. fire is, i believe, plasma, and i;m not sure plasma has a makeup. feel free to correct me if i'm wrong.


No plasma is (yay physics time) 'an electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles.' Basically its a phase of matter, different from solid, liquid or gas. I'll edit my post with a link to explain what plasma is in more detail, but I can't seem to find the link I want.

Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2004 9:22 pm
by Kong Wen
Ts'ao Jian wrote:i think only solids, liquids, and gases have a chmical makeup. fire is, i believe, plasma, and i;m not sure plasma has a makeup. feel free to correct me if i'm wrong.

Fire is not matter, it is actually a chemical reaction. It is not substance, but a process.

Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:54 pm
by Ts'ao Jian
ok, thanks. Forgive me and please disregard my earlier post.

Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 6:21 am
by Seven at One Stroke
HiddenRanbir wrote:No plasma is (yay physics time) 'an electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles.' Basically its a phase of matter, different from solid, liquid or gas. I'll edit my post with a link to explain what plasma is in more detail, but I can't seem to find the link I want.


Cool...since it's come up I thought I might as well ask, what exactly is plasma? If it's highly ionized gas, how can it be electrically neutral?

Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:10 pm
by Ranbir
Seven at One Stroke wrote:
HiddenRanbir wrote:No plasma is (yay physics time) 'an electrically neutral, highly ionized gas composed of ions, electrons, and neutral particles.' Basically its a phase of matter, different from solid, liquid or gas. I'll edit my post with a link to explain what plasma is in more detail, but I can't seem to find the link I want.


Cool...since it's come up I thought I might as well ask, what exactly is plasma? If it's highly ionized gas, how can it be electrically neutral?


About the neutrality of the gas...the individual atoms in the gas are charged. The total number of the positive and negative charges however are equal, thus maintaining an overall electrical neutrality.

Anyway, I can explain the whole thing indepth now.

Plasma is often called the "Fourth State of Matter", the other three being solid, liquid and gas. A plasma is a distinct state of matter containing a significant number of electrically charged particles, a number sufficient to affect its electrical properties and behavior. In addition to being important in many aspects of our daily lives, plasmas are estimated to constitute more than 99 percent of the visible universe.

See, in a normal gas, each atom contains a equal numbers of positive and negative charge. (protons and electrons are the same). Therefore, each atom is neutral. A gas will become plasma, with the addition of extra energy, such as heat. With enough energy, there will be a significant number of atoms which release some or all of their electrons. This leaves the atoms with a positive charge, these are said to be "ionized". When enough atoms are ionized to significantly affect the electrical characteristics of the gas, it is a plasma. The free electrons provide the negative charge which keep the gas neutral overall.

In many cases interactions between the charged particles and the neutral particles are important in determining the behavior and usefulness of the plasma. The type of atoms in a plasma, the ratio of ionized to neutral particles and the particle energies all result in a broad spectrum of plasma types, characteristics and behaviors. These unique behaviors cause plasmas to be useful in a large and growing number of important applications in our lives.

One example is our quest for Nuclear Fusion. Fusion takes place in the middle of the sun where the hydrogen gas is most dense. This high density also gives the gas an extremely hot temperature. To recreate this for ourselves, we are trying to use plasma, which is hotter than the center of the sun, but isn't as dense. How do we keep this plasma from hurting us? In a magnetic field.

Ok, thats all the info for today. If you have anymore questions, just post them here, and I'll reply with an answer ASAP. :)