7 Most Popular Chemical Elements
Hydrogen is a chemical element in the form of gas at room temperature, colorless, odorless, tasteless and highly flammable. When burned in the air, hydrogen forms water. The French chemist Antoine Lavoisier named the hydrogen after the Greek words for “he who forms the water”. Hydrogen is the tenth most common element on Earth. Because it is very light, it takes up less than one percent of the total mass of the planet. Pure hydrogen is not found in nature. However, some volcanoes and degassed oil wells release tiny amounts of hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is found in every human body.
Widespread in nature, potassium comes in the form of salts, and affects mainly the electrolyte balance level. Potassium metal was discovered in 1807 in Englandby Sir Humphry Davy, who obtained potassium caustic potash through the electrolysis of molten salt with the newfound voltaic cell. Potassium is also named Kalium, a term borrowed from the word “alkali“. Potassium’s name derives from the word “potash“, a substance normally called potassium carbonate that may be obtained from charred plant remains.
Copper is known to humans from ancient times, and almost certainly immediately after the discovery of gold and silver. Its Latin name “aes Cyprium” means “metal of Cyprus”. Copper can be found in nature either as native (pure or bonded), or in the form of compounds or minerals. Copper is widely spread in food, fruits and meat, in liver, shellfish, nuts, vegetables, most cereals, and grapes, which are the richest source of copper. The average quantity of copper in a normal diet is 2 to 5 mg.
Phosphorus is found in nature only in the form of phosphate ions, its most stable combination. The main mineral containing phosphorus, formed by solidification of the earth’s crust is the apatite. Phosphorus is found in many cereals, wheat germs, garlic, celery, carrots, onions, leeks, tomatoes, almonds, walnuts, grapes and also in pollen. There are many uses of phosphorus, such as for physical and mental fatigue, muscle fatigue (tension from muscle cramps), demineralization, bone diseases, tuberculosis, certain nerve syndromes, parathyroid disorders, spasmophilia, some asthmas, and heart failure. The daily needs of phosphorous are about 800 mg.
Aluminum is the most common metal in the Earth’s crust. The element occupies the third place after oxygen and silicon. Due to its large chemical activity, aluminum is found in nature only as compounds, and together with oxygen and silicon, forms about 83 percent of the planet’s crust. Due to its technical advantages related to low specific weight, high thermal and electrical conductivity, and resistance to corrosion, aluminum currently occupies first place in the world’s production of metals.
Nitrogen is widespread in nature. It is found in Earth’s crust in big amounts, and it is also a main ingredient of air, which consists of 78 percent free nitrogen. Most of the nitrogen in Earth’s crust is in the form of organic combinations, while combinations of inorganic nitrogen are not found in large quantities in nature. Industrial methods for obtaining nitrogen are based on the separation of nitrogen from oxygen through liquid air evaporation in special facilities.
Needles to say, carbon is the basic chemical element for life on this planet. It is one of the most spread elements in nature, and it is a component of both mineral and organic worlds. It is found in coal, oil, gas, and in its basic state in diamond, graphite and black coal. Carbon was discovered in prehistory, and was certainly known to the ancient people which manufactured it by burning organic material in spaces without much oxygen (creating coal). Diamonds have always been considered rare and beautiful. Its name comes from the French word “charbone”, which in turn comes from the Latin “carbo”, meaning charcoal. Life as we know it would not be possible without carbon.
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