Hey, everyone! Let’s hop into the mix– literally. Leave it to me to tell you everything there is to know about mixtures! Mixtures can range from the simplest of things to the most complex! They are present in salads to clothing to paint to rocks. The combinations are endless!
Mixtures are substances made by mixing other substances together or in terms that we can relate with: a whole bunch of stuff tossed together! In chemistry, mixtures are can range from alloy metals to clothing even! There are two types of mixtures: heterogeneous and homogeneous. Homogeneous mixtures have various components that cannot be seen in the mixture while heterogeneous mixtures are made up of components that are visible throughout the entire mixture. A salad? Heterogenous. A glass of water? Homogeneous.
Why is it important? Well, for example, metallurgists will often add small amounts of chromium or nickel to steel so that it will aid in the prevention of rusting! (Nz Institute of Chemistry). When baking a cake, one adds eggs to bind the whole mix together. Even rocks are mixtures of different minerals. All the various components have a purpose which contributes to the product as a whole.
I also notice mixtures in a part of my life. As an artist, I tend to dabble in a load of various mediums: oils, charcoals, pastels, ceramics, and acrylics! In paint, there are three that are well-known and they are acrylic paint, tempera paint, and oil paint. ALL of these are– yep, you guessed it– mixtures! Paints are composed of 3 different components: a pigment which gives the paint it’s color, a binder to hold the paint together, and a solvent that helps the paint dry. Even these three are mixtures themselves! Pigments are composed of inorganic and organic compounds and they each have their own distinct formula because of the different uses (car paint, house paint, paint for leisure, etc.) Solvents help the paint to dry evenly and they are composed of organic materials! Last, but not least, the binders are what makes the magic happen! Binders are what holds the paint together! Back in the Renaissance era, a binding agent that was very common was egg yolks for tempera paint! Mind blown. Who knew that egg yolks could help the most influential artists in history? I didn’t know either. Let’s not forget where we’d be without Bob Ross. No soul can paint happy trees perfectly and certainly no one could beat the devil out of a paint brush unless it’s Bob Ross.
Just for good measure, let’s get into ceramics! Ceramics are such a massive part of art and it has been the medium for many famous artists! What you would use in a ceramics class is clay and clay is a plethora of things all tossed together. It is the epitome of chemistry in the art aspect of things because “Clay is a major component of soil all over the world, with a variety of properties according to the precise conditions that applied during its formation” (Jones). It’s made up of a mixture of alkali earth metals and/or alkali metals and aluminum silicates. Here’s where it gets interesting. After millions of years and a little exposure to carbon dioxide, those rocks that were once hard and firm are now a malleable and squishy solid which we call clay! Way back in the day (millions of years ago, lol) one would find clay sitting where it had initially formed or the clay would be carried by a river and wherever it would wash up is were it would be found (Breuer).
The glazes are a real treat! Glazes are composed of silicon dioxide to provide the main body, aluminum oxide to enhance the viscosity, and fluxes to help lower the melting point of the mixture to the temperature of firing. Don’t forget the transition metal oxides that add the tons of colors in glazes! (Breuer). Since then, various forms of pottery derive from thousands of years ago! We notice it in ancient Chinese art, Indian art, and many others that span from all over the world. Let’s not forget about that beautiful cobalt underglaze that the Chinese have mastered perfectly!
You ever think about the food you eat? Guess what? Food is also a mixture! Sometimes, people are a bit health conscious and don’t like the mixtures of certain foods! Take people who do plant-based diets. If they’re eating a salad that has bits of processed dairy-free cheese, they’re gonna omit that because it’s not plant-based and it’s highly processed. The mixtures of certain foods do turn people off because they can be very unhealthy and even hazardous! We’ve all heard of the cancer causing foods and products that are sold in the market. Hot Cheetos are the worst offender! As a person who loves spicy food more than anything, I’ve put Hot Cheetos on hold because, “additionally, the snack will cause acute gastritis” which , “in some cases, gastritis can lead to ulcers and an increased risk of stomach cancer” (Thrashersaf). The mixture of Hot Cheetos contains a red food dye that causes the consumer’s feces to turn red or orange color and it also causes pain in the lining of the stomach! Many physicians are advisingagainst the ingestion of these ruby red snack due to the various of fears of cancer, gastritis, diarrhea, and many other issues that concern one’s bowel movements. These Cheetos are a heterogeneous mixtures because you can see the powdery red dust and the crunchy corn mixture on the inside of it! What do you want to take away from this? Mixtures are your friends…….sometimes. 😉
Retrospectively thinking, I really didn’t think about the chemical composition of all the things that have been in my life in the realm of academia or in my everyday routine! I paint all the time and I had no idea paint was comprised of so many things Last but not least, who can forget about food? Man, that should be whole topic on its own. Food is a mixture, but no one really thinks about the label of it being heterogenous or homogeneous. These points just prove over and over again how chemistry is an integral part of our lives and so is the chemistry concept of mixtures!
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