Hello World of Chemistry

In the computer community, the name of the first program most beginners learn is "Hello World".  Simliarly, the Jewelbots "Hello World" segment is a fun, bite-size intro to get you more excited about seeing science differently! This is where Jewelbots proves that the opposite of science is not girl!

We’re hoping the colorful aesthetic will help make chemistry seem less scary, but come on, we all know the truth right? Chemistry has a pretty bad rep. It’s the class you try to survive in rather than enjoy. “When will I ever need to know the atomic number of an Oxygen molecule??” you might ask yourself before you fall asleep on your chem lab notebook.

Well, if you find nail polish, makeup, or any beauty products fun and exciting, then chemistry exists somewhere in your heart whether you realize it or not!

What do you think gives nail polish that weird smell? Chemistry! What do you think makes your favorite “Queen of D’Nile” OPI color? Chemistry! This “Hello World” of Chemistry segment is going to happen through nail polish!!

The main ingredient in regular nail polish (nail laquer) is Nitrocellulose, which is a mixture of cotton plant fibers and the stuff that makes TNT explode! It used to be known as guncotton. However, even though it used to be used for things like gunpowder, we now use it ot make things like the sticky stuff that holds rows of staples together. It’s flammable, but you shouldn’t be lighting your fingers on fire anyway!

In the nail polish bottle, nitrocellulose is dissolved in a chemical solvent called ethyl acetate. This solvent evaporates really quickly with contract to air and is what gives nail polish that “chemical” smell. Once the ethyl acetate evaporates away completely, the Nitrocellulose is left behind and dries into a solid film on your nail.

The ethyl acetate is also the same solvent used in nail polish remover. This is because when nail polish remover is applied, it re-dissolves the Nitrocellulose back into a liquid so it can be wiped off!
The act of your nail polish drying and being removed is all because of chemistry! Even your nail polish being smelly is all chemistry at work!

Isn’t that exciting?

Did you also know that a chemistry mix of benzoyl peroxide and methacrylate is used to create gel nail polish?!

Methacrylate is a liquid form of plastic. As Benzoyl Peroxide chemically reacts with the absorption of light, it being compounded with Methacrylate allows the nail polish mixture to dry and harden into a gel layer.

This all happens on your nails in seconds!