Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Definitive Answer

Doctor Boron has offered to answer your query once and for all.
What is salt?
The earth is made up of 92 natural elements, which combine to form compounds. Salt is a compound created when sodium (Na+), a metal so unstable that it easily bursts into flame, combines with chlorine (Cl-), a deadly poisonous gas. This natural occurrence is known as a chemical reaction -- think of it as two people who misbehave on their own but play well together. The two elements stabilize each other, and the result, sodium chloride, is neither explosive nor poisonous. This is what we call salt.

Thank you Doctor Boron.
Text: Mark Kurlansky.Illustration: S. D. Schindler

7 Comments:

Anonymous Analysa said...

Oh, I did not know salts components are so unstable when separate, hmmm, something to think about.

8/9/07 6:38 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Isn't it amazing that something can be poisonous alone but when combined with something else, loses that quality? I can hardly fathom it.

8/9/07 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Analysa said...

Yes, quite amazing.Reminds me somewhat of a dream I had recently where I was standing on this tiny circle of land and three sharks trying to get at me, then suddenly I was standing somewhere else and the sharks had turned into beautiful dolphins.

8/9/07 8:45 AM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

So, sodium is a particularly reactive metal.

Yesterday, the "How To of the Day" link in my browser was to an article on using flint and steel to start a fire. The flint scrapes off tiny particles of the steel. It's actually the particles of steel that become hot sparks.

The idea seems to be that any thing that can ignite has some ignition temperature. Fine particles of metal are phosphoric -- that is, they can ignite below room temperature.

8/9/07 9:59 AM  
Blogger Kadimiros said...

It's quite interesting, really, the Fire and Earth relation -- the fiery aspect released by the finely divided earthy element. :-)

I imagine that Virgo appreciates fine divisions.

8/9/07 10:37 AM  
Blogger jm said...

Oh, I did not know salts components are so unstable when separate

There's a lot more informtion on salt which you might find very interesting. I'll post. I happened to find (kadimiros style) a fascinating book by a guy who has written histories of salt. One for children, one for adults.

Isn't it amazing that something can be poisonous alone but when combined with something else, loses that quality?

Incredible. I found this amusing and a lot to think about, the way relationships are explained.

It's actually the particles of steel that become hot sparks.

Aries.:-)

I imagine that Virgo appreciates fine divisions.

Yes. And knows how to see them better than anyone.

8/9/07 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Analysa said...

jm: There's a lot more information on salt which you might find very interesting. I'll post.

Please do, such a vast subject to explore, not just the theory and history but also on very practical levels.

I have to admit though that the chemical reaction that has my attention right now is the coming eclipse on Tuesday, falling right on my Pluto. Will the energies combine to create a beautiful firework finale or will it be an explosive ignition of corrosive elements? Ha Ha

I have been in the eye of the hurricane for a while now, all very peaceful and safe. In the center one is supposed to be safe, let´s see how it goes, I am taking it slow & easy.

9/9/07 4:33 AM  

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