Tag Archives: science

Holey Ozone! What’s the Problem?

Ozone is a colorless gas which consists of three oxygen atoms, one double-bonded to another, and the third loosely bound with a single bond to one of the other two. It is a highly unstable molecule, and will take any opportunity to break apart to form a more stable oxygen atom and a reactive oxygen radical. It naturally exists mostly in the stratosphere, where it acts as a thin chemical shield against solar ultraviolet radiation, but it is produced at ground level by any process which involves an electrical current passing through the air (the “dry” odor you smell when you’re next to a copy machine is ozone, for instance) Ground level ozone has caused serious problems, especially in recent decades as more and more of it is produced by our growing population. It reacts with a variety of materials, including the rubber in automobile tires, and the tissues lining the lung, to name a couple.

In the stratosphere, however, ozone absorbs ultraviolet light via the process described below, effectively removing a significant portion of harmful high-energy electromagnetic radiation from the spectrum which reaches us at ground level. Exposure to high levels of UV light has been proven to increase the risk of malignant skin cancers and melanoma, as well as affecting the fragile balance in natural ecosystems. Therefore, any reduction in stratospheric ozone concentration may result in increased incidence of skin cancers and other UV related maladies.

Here is the process by which stratospheric ozone is created. A molecule of oxygen is hit by a ray of ultraviolet radiation. This gives it enough energy to split into two oxygen radicals, which go on to hit other oxygen molecules, bonding with them to form ozone. Later, ozone molecules are struck by ultraviolet radiation and break apart into oxygen molecules and oxygen radicals, to continue the cycle.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are relatively stable compounds used as refrigerants, and used to be utilized to blow-mold Styrofoam. These compounds are affected by ultraviolet radiation and pose a threat to the ozone layer in the following manner:



My Worlds Collide.

You cannot tell me that Chemistry is anything less than fascinating. But I am interested in more than just that discipline. Now, imagine this. Your favorite worlds collide and you realize that anything is possible. Have you ever considered merging all the things you love together to see what evolves? Can completely unconnected interests intersect? I am learning that the answer is a resounding, yes.

Here is one example that I happened upon today. I have random passions that have no apparent tie to one another. Art. Science. Technology. Artisan jewelry. I find truth, beauty and order in these pursuits. Aha! Could that be the tie that binds these interests? You can help me decide. Radiolaria bracelet (black)

This picture caught my eye. Interesting and lovely. From what material is this bracelet fashioned. I guessed…wood, metal, plastic? Wrong on all counts. What I discovered by searching is a very interesting process for making this jewelry. The process for making this line of jewelry is the place where I found my worlds colliding.

This line of jewelry is called Nervous System. Each piece in the collection takes its form from a part of the human body or plant cells at the microscopic level. There seems to be inspiration to be found in the sculptural shapes of dendrites, algal bloom, reticulate venation in flowering plants, hyphae, interstial tissue and more. Crazy, huh?

Now comes the chemistry and the technology behind this particular cuff. Silicone rubber is cut into an organic network of distorting ellipses. The pattern displays shifts in direction and scale, creating a sense of movement and tension around the wrist. These complex forms recall those of radiolarians, plant cells and even the familiar honey comb.

This bracelet is formed from a single piece of silicone. Silicone rubber is an odorless and heat resistant rubber. Its high tensile strength allows the bracelet to recover from both stretching and crushing with no damage.


I am interested to know where your worlds might collide. Think on it and let me know. Let’s make unique connections between the worlds we admire.