1. Read Chapter 8: Atoms and the Periodic Table and the article: Chapter 8 – Manufacturing Metals.pdf
2. Summarize some of the ways that economics and chemistry interact, as described in this article in at least 250 words
3. Please reply with 5-7 sentence to a student post. Your post should comply with requirements posted in the Discussion Questions
Student Kya Love
Chemistry and economics interact, overlap, and occasionally butt heads in a variety of ways, but the never-ending pursuit of profit tends to lead them both down the same road. Today, aluminum is used in countless ways, undoubtedly the most common being the foil we use in our kitchens, brought home for no more than a few dollars. A century or so ago, however, aluminum was a considered a pricier commodity than gold, due to the difficulty of its production. Having to put a substance through multiple chemical baths to strip it of other compounds and elements, then further baths to remove the chemicals used in the process before is tedious at best, and all together costly. However, the introduction of electricity made the chemical process obsolete, turning a once expensive production into a timely and comparatively cheap endeavor, proving once again the economic benefit to a chemist’s experiments.
These days, scientists are hoping to repeat these advances with other metals that are costing an exorbitant amount to produce for very little result. Progress has been made in finding techniques similar to those found successful with aluminum production – using electrical currents, though in this case with the assistance of cathode rays – to bring the cost and effort associated with refining tantalum and other metals down to a more reasonable number. When the technique is perfected, it can be implemented on a much larger, industrial scale, turning a somewhat rarely used and overpriced resource into an abundant product. This allows for the cost of a multitude of products that these metals are used in to go down as well – something we can all benefit from. Cheaper cost of production means less expensive and better quality products!