Ever looked at the nib of your pen and thought why on Earth is it split? Ever thought after taking a long shower why the skin on your hands and feet resembles that of a wrinkly old woman? Why does a mere stone shatter the whole glass whereas a speeding bullet only makes a hole? Are these merely accidents or has everything got a reason behind it? Well, science resides in every nook and corner of our house, in every phenomenon, however tiny it is and all the seemingly weird happenings has got well-knit explanations behind them, all thanks to the wonders of science.
Well, it may happen that you are an arts graduate! Or you are a law graduate! You have probably turned the pages of your elementary science book while in your secondary school. “Science is not my cup of tea” – you probably said this to yourself and attempted to close this website. But then science is as elemental as life itself and your whole existence can be woven by the knowledge and the wisdom that it contains. Now to ease the process, I have tried my best to provide precise explanations to some of the quirkiest phenomenon that happen every day everywhere in layman’s language but feel free to revert in case of doubt. Here you go! Start binging!
Stainless steel contains iron and yet is not attracted by magnet. Why?
Answer: Stainless steel contains 18% Chromium, 8% Nickel, 1% Manganese, 0.08% Carbon, 0.06% Nitrogen and of course, Iron. These additional elements added to Iron render the anti-corrosive properties of stainless steel but arrange the Weber elements in an FCC (Face Centred Cubic) structure because of which stainless steel loses its magnetic properties. If the alloy is mechanically deformed, i.e. bent, at room temperature, it acquires some ferromagnetic properties and may become partly magnetic.
When you dunk a biscuit into hot milk it crumbles. But the same does not happen with cold milk. Why?
Answer: That is because the intermolecular force of attraction between the molecules of a biscuit is weak. In addition to it, milk contains 85 – 87% of water. The viscosity of water reduces with increase in temperature meaning that the density of water reduces with heat as the water molecules have much higher energy to move about and seep in through the biscuit particles. On the other hand, colder water or colder milk has higher viscosity or higher density and hence the molecules take time to seep into the biscuit. That is why a biscuit easily crumbles in hot milk or hot water but not in cold milk or cold water.
Soaps come in different colors. But soap lather is always white. Why?
Answer: Soaps, shampoos, body-washes etc come in so many different colors and yet their foam is always white. Surprising isn’t it? Well, science has answer to almost all such mysteries. Soap when mixed with water and rubbed well creates lather which is actually a large collection of tiny soap bubbles. Again each bubble itself is actually an extremely thin film of the soap solution. This film stretches due to lower surface tension of water, causing the color of the soap to spread out well beyond the limits of recognition, making it almost impossible to detect. When light enters the soap lather, it passes through innumerable number of tiny soap bubbles which poses a surface of obstruction to the passing of light, causing it to scatter in different directions, making the foam look white.
Why is there a split in the nib of a fountain pen?
Answer: The split is the basically the heart of a fountain pen which differentiates a classic one from an ordinary one! The split creates a channel or rather a capillary which maintains the constant flow of ink from the ink chamber inside the pen to the paper surface. As the sides of the nib spread and flex, ink moves down the open split by the action of gravity and is drawn onto the absorbent paper through the capillary formed. The greater the absorption qualities of the paper the faster or more easily the ink will move onto the paper’s surface. If you attempt to quickly scratch the nib very fast, the split overly opens and capillary action halts the flow of the ink. The ink stays in suspension, defying gravity. The smoother the inside or joining faces of the split the better will be the flow; nib quality therefore makes all the difference in the quality of a fountain pen.
Why does our skin wrinkle when held in water for a long time?
Answer: Because the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin on your hands and feet, contains more and more dead skin cells than any other part of your body. These cells act like an efficient sponge and soak up water, while the skin on the other parts of the body is not affected. When this dead skin absorbs water, they swell and bulge and tugs on the live skin layers beneath. The live skin layers are firmly attached to the underneath skin fibres and do not bulge out. This phenomenon of bulging out of the outer epidermis and pulling in of the inner skin layers causes the wrinkly appearance.
Why is it not possible to donate our blood post death whereas we can donate our organs?
Answer: Because a person who is dying is not probably a very healthy individual. Blood carries all the traces and all the information about the diseases that the person is suffering from. Whereas, the organs don’t! Even if the person had had a kidney infection before dying, he can still donate his eyes or other organs which are working perfectly. But his blood will still carry the information and will be infected by the infections that affected his kidney. Moreover, the blood of a sick dying individual is supposed to be loaded with lots of drugs which render it unfit for a different person with completely different sets of health issues. In addition to this, blood coagulates very fast if it is not flowing. As the heart stops, cellular damage and death sets in, including the death of the endothelium cells, which line the blood vessels, and inevitably Hypercoagulability is triggered.
Why does a stone shatter the whole glass whereas a bullet makes a clean hole?
Answer: Because the “Impulse” or the “impact” of the force exerted by the bullet is much less than that exerted by a stone. Now how is that possible? Here’s how! The impulse is measures by force multiplied by time of contact. A bullet is as heavy as a stone. May be a little less; and hence both exerts almost the same momentum or similar force. But the catch is, a bullet is much faster than a stone and hence the time of contact of the bullet with the glass is very less and hence can pass through it, cleanly, without causing much damage. But a stone being slower than a bullet stays in contact with the surface of the glass for a longer period of time and hence, the impulse, Force times Time of contact is much higher for it. This impact shatters the whole glass.
Why does milk overflow when boiled whereas water does not?
Answer: Because milk is not a regular liquid like water but is a complex mixture of 85% water, 4% proteins, 5% lactose and 6% fat, among other substances. When we boil milk, fat, sugar, proteins and minerals get separated and since these components are lighter, they form a thick film, called cream or malai, on the top surface of the boiling milk, whereas, the bottom surface mainly consists of water. When milk starts boiling, this water from the bottom surface starts vaporizing and moves upwards, but does not get an outlet due to the impenetrable layer of cream formed on the top surface. The water in the milk then pushes the creamy layer out so that the vapour can escape. This then causes the milk to overflow and spill out of the vessel.