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Articles on Chemistry

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Sampling wildfire smoke sometimes means sticking a tube out the window of an airplane. Brett Palm/University of Washington

Wildfire smoke changes dramatically as it ages, and that matters for downwind air quality – here’s what we learned flying through smoke plumes

Thousands of chemical compounds in wildfire smoke are interacting with each other and sunlight as the smoke travels. For people downwind, it can become more toxic over time.
Breathing pure oxygen would be like fireworks exploding in your body. And that’s not always a good thing. Shutterstock

Curious Kids: what happens if you breathe pure oxygen?

You might think the more oxygen you breathe in the better. But too much oxygen can make you sick.
Replacing carbon-emitting gas-powered cars with EVs requires whittling away EVs’ price premium, and that comes down to one thing: battery cost. Westend61 via Getty Images

The road to electric vehicles with lower sticker prices than gas cars – battery costs explained

EVs will have lower sticker prices than gas vehicles when batteries are cheaper. Getting there comes down to knowing where to cut costs.
Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators shooting tear gas next to St. John’s Episcopal Church outside of the White House, June 1, 2020 in Washington D.C., during a protest over the death of George Floyd. JOSE LUIS MAGANA/AFP via Getty Images

What is tear gas?

The chemical weapon, tear gas, was used in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Orlando and several other cities to control crowds protesting the death of George Floyd. But what is it? Does it cause harm?

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