Our Earth is the only planet that can initiate and sustain life-forms, with an atmosphere containing two chemical elements, 78% of nitrogen and 21% of oxygen at an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius and with two-thirds of its surface covered by ocean. InventionsDiscoveries.com celebrates Earth Day 2013 by highlighting the chemistry of the Earth.
A chemical element is a basic substance found in nature. It cannot be broken down into simpler substances by using ordinary chemical processes. The elements are the building blocks for all other substances. When they are combined with other elements the result is called a compound. For example, water is a chemical compound of the elements oxygen and hydrogen.
Nature has 92 chemical elements, and more than 20 additional ones have been created artificially in laboratories. Some elements, including nitrogen – the major component of air – are present in great abundance. Some are quite rare. Continue reading
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This famous Parisian landmark initially considered an eyesore
Initially, the career of Gustav Eiffel planned was for him to become a chemist and to take over his uncle’s vinegar and paint factory. So it was mapped out that he was to study chemistry until university. It was not meant to be. A family dispute occurred after he graduated with a chemistry degree in the early 1850s.
Brilliant Metallurgical Engineer
In 1855, aged 23, Eiffel got employed by a company that design and manufacture railway bridges. Gustav Eiffel possessed brilliant skill in metallurgy and soon enough, he was recognized by the engineering industry. He became renowned for his mastery with iron construction.
Construction of New York’s Statue of Liberty
His talents and skills caught the attention of sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who had been assigned the massive undertaking of creating New York’s Statue of Liberty as a gift to America. Bartholdi asked Eiffel to design and construct the statue’s iron skeleton. Continue reading
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Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian High-Renaissance great thinker and a polymath, is commonly assumed as the first person to conceive the helicopter, a helicopter-like machine, as it was found among his drawings.
There is also evidence that Chinese and Renaissance Europeans had the design in mind, because among the artefacts found from these civilizations are toys that look like helicopters.
History tells us that various inventors have tried to work out a functional helicopter, but the problem was finding an engine that could make a “blade” whirl with enough power to create the “lift” or vertical thrust in order to get off the ground.
In 1907, a helicopter designed by Paul Cornu was able to get off the ground and in 1923, a Spaniard named Juan de la Cierva successfully flew an “autogiro” but it wasn’t until 1930 that a practical craft was developed, worked on by Russian-American Igor Sikorsky, a pioneer of aviation. Continue reading
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Charles Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce came from the opposite sides of the tracks, and therefore and unlikely partner. However, the rest is history, the duo hit it off to produce the powerful Rolls-Royce automotive giant.
Frederick Henry Royce
Frederick Henry Royce was nine years old when his father died in 1872. He became the breadwinner for his family and took odd jobs in London, from bird-scaring to newspaper-selling. At the age of 14, he was hired as an apprentice toolmaker at the railway works.
In 1884, Royce moved to Manchester and opened an electrical engineering business. That was also the time of Britain’s fledgling automobile industry. Two years later, he took part in a demonstration to raise the speed limit in Britain from 4 miles per hour, leading to a new limit of 12 miles per hour.
At that time, the French were considered world leaders, so Royce purchased a two-cylinder, ten-horsepower Decauville in 1903. The car was a disappointment to Royce, who believed he could build a much better one. Continue reading