Explosives and fuels

After months of inactivity, I have decided to start the blog again with something to blow your mind(pun intended). I am going to be talking about explosives and fuels, and most importantly, how they’re different.

So first you need to know that both explosives and fuels have potential energy inside them and that potential energy is released when they react with oxygen, a process known as combustion.


Fuels are compounds such as petrol or gas, that release energy slowly when burnt. We are surrounded by fuels everywhere; in our cars, our kitchens and even the electricity we get from the national grid is mostly produced by the burning of fossil fuels. A fuel is any substance that produces energy when it reacts with oxygen, such as hydrogen or alcohol.

Usually the fuels that we use are hydrocarbons, molecules that contain only hydrogen and carbon. This means that when they are burnt they produce water and carbon dioxide
(click here to see a hydrocarbon ) which is not  very good as carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. This is why some companies are looking to make hydrogen powered cars that will only produce water as a byproduct.


Oxidizers or oxidizing agents are chemicals that produce oxygen when they are burnt or heated, helping a fuel to produce more energy quicker or make an explosive more explosive. If you burn an oxidizer and some wood and then just some wood you will notice the former burns for a shorter amount of time but the flame is more intense, this is because more oxygen is being produced and helps the wood burn. Oxidizers are added to rocket fuels to make them more powerful and make sure that the rocket actually takes off. Some examples are potassium permanganate, sodium chlorate and chlorine gas.


Explosives are substances that often have less potential energy than fuels but produce almost all instantaneously. The bang you hear when a party popper or a stick of dynamite goes off is the reaction going off through all the molecules at once and creating a mini sonic boom. Some explosives are actually fuels in their normal form but when you add an oxidizer they react quicker and become an explosive. When you light an explosive it is known as detonation. Some explosives are TNT(trinitrotenuole), nitroglycerine, and gunpowder.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of perelements.



Welcome back to perelements and this week I’ll be talking about a rather boring element. Francium

Atomic number: 87

Atomic mass: 223.7(ish)

melting point:27(c)

boiling point: 667(c)

oxidation state(s): +1

Electron configuration: Rn 7s1

Francium is about the laziest element I could write about and that is fitting considering it is the last day of term. Francium was discovered in 1939 and was named after France which was the discoverer’s, Maguerite Perey, home country. The element itself is very unstable as well as being radioactive.

Because Francium is so rare it is never found in large amounts.

Anyway that’s all for today. Subscribe, like and comment and see you next time.



Back to elements this week on perelements, and this week it’s caesium.


Atomic number: 55
Oxidation states: +1
Atomic weight: 132.91
Melting point: 28C
Boiling point: 671C
Density: 1.87 g/cm3
Electron configuration: (Xe) 6s1

Caesium is the most reactive metal on the periodic table and will sometimes catch fire in the air, it also reacts violently with water, producing hydrogen gas as well as caesium hydroxide.

Caesium was discovered in 1860 by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchoff, the same scientists who discovered rubidium(see my previous post). It was named after the Latin word caesius, meaning sky blue, because of its spectral lines.

Although ceasium is very reactive and dangerous uses it does have one essential use that is fundamental to many websites and other computer based systems. Atomic clocks. These astoundingly accurate ‘timepieces’ have a lump of caesium that gets vibrated by microwaves at a certain frequency and it echoes it back and this somehow turns into seconds. Apart from this caesium does not have any commercial uses.

Sorry that there are no pictures but I couldn’t get any :(.

Thanks for reading and please leave a like or a comment and remember to tell your friends about this blog. Thank you.


Chermistry-Pharaohs-Snake-Toxic-Reaction Welcome back to perelements and I am really sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. This is mostly down to the fact that a)I am quite lazy b) I am not quite as motivated as before c)I haven’t really thought that much about my blog since the start of the school year because of homework and trying to be organised.

Anyway lets get on with the post. This week will be slightly different as I will be explaining how I tried to find out what a rock was made of. The rock was black and very light so I assumed it was probably charcoal or some other form of carbon. I decided to make some limewater, by adding calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) to water, I was planning to burn the rock and if carbon dioxide was produced the limewater would go cloudy. After that I tried to burn the rock but all that came off were a few sparks.
I then held it to the flame for longer and it still didn’t set alight but I did notice something else, the rock got weaker. I managed to break it in half and one of the halves had a side which was completely smooth. Since I am sort of a pyromaniac and like setting things on fire when I can, I tried to burn this side to see what would happen. Sparks again. But the side did sort of crinkle up.

I am sad to say that I do not know for sure what this ‘rock’ was but I think it was a piece of charcoal, please tell me in the comments whether or not you agree. Thanks for reading and please leave a like or a comment.



Welcome back to perelemets and before i start the actual blog i would like to apologise for a lack of posts recently. This is because it has been the summer holidays and have not had much time to research and write posts.

rubidium tableAnyway lets get on with the blog.
Rubidium(Rb) is the 4th element in group 1 and as a result is very reactive. Rubidium was discovered by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchoff in 1861, they used Bunsen’s bunsen burner and burn’t some lepidolite( K(Li,Al,Rb)3(Al,Si)4O10(F,OH) ), don’t try and remember the formula. Anyway they found two deep red spectral lines in the burning lepidolite and realised that there was a new element. They named it rubidium due to the deep red lines in its spectrum.
Although it has no importance in living beings, Rubidium is often absorbed into the body due to its similarity to potassium. Rubidium also has few practicle uses, but a radioactive isotope called rubidium-87 is absorbed into red blood cells particularly easily and is detected by magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) so is used to pinpoint areas of low and high blood pressure.
MRIan MRI scanner.
rubidium compounds are sometimes used in solar panels and may be put to use on spacecraft ion engines, since it ionises very easily.

That’s the end of Perelements and once again sorry for the delay in my post. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow and like. Come back next week for more



Welcome back to perelements, this week I’ll be talking about the element potassium.
potassium tablePotassium was discovered in 1807 by English chemist Sir Humphry davy by passing an electric current through molten caustic potash. Potassium is an extremely important element in the body, helping to reduce blood pressure and also essential for the proper functioning of nerve cells. Potassium is also important as industrial crop growth can deplete the soils potassium reserve and therefore potassium rich fertilisers are used. Another ‘important’ compound of potassium is potassium nitrate(KNO): potassium nitrate is an explosive material and is used in fertilisers(?), rocket propellants, fireworks and is also a major component in gunpowder. Another interesting fact about potassium is that when it reacts with water it releases hydrgen gas, like every alkali metal, but it creates enough heat to make a flame. Potassium is stored under oil to stop it reacting with air to form potassium oxide.potassium under oil

thank you for reading, next time I’ll be talking about rubidium.



Hey guys, this week on perelements I’m going to be talking about sodium(Na).

sodiumtableSodium was discovered in 1807 by Humphry Davy, by passing and electric current through molten caustic soda(sodium hydroxide, NaOH). Sodium comes from the Latin sodanum, meaning glass-wort. Glass-worts are salt loving plants(halophytes ) and their ashes contain sodium carbonate, an important ingredient in glass making. The symbol comes from the Latin word natrium, meaning sodium carbonate.
Although there are more than ten kilograms of it in every cubic metre of sea water, as dissolved sodium+ ions, sodium is only the six most abundant element in the earth’s crust.About 100,000 tonnes of pure sodium are produced each year, through electrolysis of liquid sodium chloride(salt, NaCl).
Sometimes liquid sodium is used as a coolant in nuclear power stations, as well as in low pressure street lamps. Inside the lamps bulb is a tiny amount of solid sodium, when the lamp is turned on the sodium is vaporized and emits an orange glow, due to electrons dropping from a higher to lower energy level.street lampSodium is a very important electrolyte,essential for the proper functioning of neurons(nerves) and helping to retain fluids such as water in the body, to much sodium though and blood pressure is raised because of the increased amount of fluids.Sodium bicarbonate is also important in baking, used as a raising agent, emitting carbon dioxide when it is heated. Sodium is also used in soap and paper making, and the extraction of aluminium.

sodiumm bicarbonatesodium bicarbonate, a raising agent.

Salt(NaCl) is one of the most common sodium compounds and is extracted industrially through a process of dissolving and evaporation. Hot water is pumped into rock salt deposits and then pumped back up again, with the resulting brine being evaporated.

Thanks for reading and next time I’ll be talking about potassium.