Thomas Klapötke’s lab in Germany does some terrifying nitrogen chemistry…
EDIT: via cyclopentadiene
From the paper on C2N14 (that one with three -N3 groups on the substituted tetrazole):
Translation: “Taking an IR of this thing was enough to make it blow up.”
There’s a number of reasons you could be feeling this way - seeing as you’ve got through the course so far without failing or dropping out I’m more inclined to think this is an issue in your perception of your self. In other words it could be due to a phenomenon called ‘imposter syndrome’ where even though you might be just as qualified and educated as everyone else, your perception of yourself and your abilities is much lower than what they actually are.
Alternatively, you could just be much more aware that no matter how much you revise something, you’re eventually going to forget the nitty-gritty details and will have to come back to it and revise when you need it again. This applies to everyone. No one in the workplace is going to demand that you take a random pop quiz on your knowledge of nomenclature. Seriously - and even if they did they would have to give you fair warning. The real reason for eduction is to test that you are able to learn and apply new things - the only thing you take away from this is an enhanced understanding of learning and re-learning over and over again. It’s about finding the right resources and knowing where to look for them, of team building and fostering working relationships and getting a feel that this is the thing that I want to do for your working life - that you can actually see yourself being employed to study and apply this information (not forcibly remember stuff to blurt out onto paper for an hour) because it is interesting or you get a good feeling seeing something work better than it did before. That’s it - this mindset was passed onto me from a professor with 40 years in the field of food chemistry so I’m not alone in that. He never touched the field of his thesis after he got his doctorate and did something completely different in food science after that. So while you’re learning valuable skills in the lab and you remember all the basics at the end of the day It’s just a piece of paper that proves to your employer that you have the ability to apply the information that you’ve been given.
I think it is a common feeling. Imposter syndrome seems big in the sciences.
Here is how I ultimately feel about education: The value of your education is really not knowing nomenclature or any of that or memorizing things. It is about being able to go back and understand what you read (articles, textbooks, etc). You’re getting a new kind of literacy, not just a new set of facts. (I feel like thecraftychemist has said this in a different set of words.)
Also, for anybody feeling this way I highly suggest that you read “Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned.” Professors feel this way, students feel this way, professionals feel this way.
I know that no matter how many grants I get or scholarships or how much praise I get from my PI or our graduate students, I still feel like I just lucked into and I get very confused by their praise. It happens.
Fake it til’ you make it, I guess.
This is on the face of it a pretty simple question, but the chemistry behind it is actually a little complicated. It’s also complicated further by the fact that different glues will work in different ways.
As one example, superglue contains the chemicals from the cyanoacrylate family, one of which, methyl cyanoacrylate, is shown below. This chemical rapidly polymerises (forms long chains) with other molecules of itself when it comes into contact with moisture - even the moisture in the air is enough to start this process. The polymerisation bonds the joined surfaces together. So, when you get superglue on your skin, the ‘stickiness’ is caused by the polymerisation, set off by the moisture in your skin.
Other types of glue can stick things together in different ways. Even an object that feels smooth will have a very rough surface on a molecular level, and liquid glue can seep into microscopic cracks in an object’s surface. ‘Mechanical bonding’ sticks the two objects together as the glue hardens within these crevices.
Intermolecular forces also play a part in the ‘stickiness’ of glue, in particular Van der Waals forces. Electrons in molecules are mobile, and at any point in time there could potentially be more electrons at one end of the molecule than at the other. This leads to what we call a ‘temporary dipole’ - meaning the molecule has one slightly positively charged end, and one slightly negatively charged end. Because electrons in molecules are constantly moving, temporary dipoles are constantly being created.
If molecules with temporary dipoles get close enough to other molecules, they can create temporary dipoles in those molecules too. These are known as ‘induced dipoles’. In order for this to occur though, the molecules have to be very close together, no more than a few angstroms. An angstrom is a unit of measurement equal to 0.00000001cm. This is why glue being wet is important - so it can spread and flow to ensure this close contact. So, molecules in the adhesive can induce temporary dipoles in the molecules of the surface it is sticking to, increasing the strength of mechanical bonding.
This is as much as I’ve been able to dig up on the subject. If anyone has anything else to add, I’d be very interested to hear it!
References & Further Reading