When getting coffee, the people at Starbucks ask, “Do you want to leave room for sugar and cream?” Do I need to leave space if I just add sugar?

Question answered by Catherine Riddle, PhD, Radiochemist, Idaho National Laboratory The chemistry of coffee is complex to start with so adding sugar, milk or both makes it even more so. There are many systems at work in a cup of coffee including density, inter-molecular spacing, temperature and concentration. Believe it or not, there is a…

How do things like butter and chocolate melt?

Question answered by Catherine Riddle, PhD, Radiochemist, Idaho National Laboratory Both chocolate and butter contain fat (triglycerides) which is why they melt differently than ice.  Most chocolates (especially milk-chocolate) tend to melt into this sticky (albeit delicious) mess at slightly above room temperature as does butter.  So why does this happen?  Since chocolate and butter…

Will Vitamin C help me get over my cold?

Question Answered by Tamara Cox, RN, Eastern Idaho Public Health Department Continued from last week Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a popular treatment for the common cold, whether by orange juice or in tablet form. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin C is considered “possibly effective” for treat the common cold, but is ineffective…

How does bleach make things whiter?

Answered by Dr. Cathy Riddle, Chemist, Idaho National Laboratory Bleach is an oxidizing agent. This means that the bleach will react in certain ways with certain groups of chemicals. Natural stains, as well as dyes, are produced from chemical compounds called chromophores. Chromophores are generally molecules with long chains of alternating “double” and “single” bonds…