Quantifying how important chemistry is to modern life is a complex task. Everything we use—from our food to our phones—benefits from the field of chemistry in some way. Take a look at five chemistry inventions that make modern life possible.
1. Polythene Plastics
Polythene—also known as polyethylene—is the world’s most commonly produced plastic. Polythene resins account for over 30 percent of the world’s plastics, which is a huge amount. We use it in common household items, such as grocery bags, soda bottles, or take-out containers from our favorite restaurants. It also makes for excellent insulation for electrical purposes.
2. Lithium Batteries
If you ever wonder why chemical research is important to the economy, just look at lithium batteries. These batteries—also called lithium-ion batteries—are in all your personal electronics. They’re even in many of the electric vehicles available in consumer markets. Here are just a few of the modern tools you wouldn’t be able to use without lithium batteries:
- Laptops and tablets
- Electric toothbrushes
- Bluetooth headphones and headsets
- Gaming controllers
- Smoke and gas detectors
3. Penicillin and Antibiotics
Prior to the 1940s, one of the most dangerous things that could happen to you was getting an infection. Many kinds of injuries can develop infections, even tiny paper cuts. In the early 20th century, Alexander Fleming discovered a little something called penicillin, which kills many kinds of infection-causing bacteria.
This and other antibiotics help fight some of the most common bacterial infections that we encounter, such as strep throat, UTIs, and whooping cough. Because of antibiotics’ importance in medicine, even tech is getting involved as AI discovers new antibiotics and expands on the work of chemistry. But the next time your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, you can thank chemistry.
4. Synthetic Fabrics
While many people resent the presence of plastics like nylon and polyester in clothing, the truth is that synthetic fabrics help clothe the world. Even with modern production techniques, it’s just not possible to produce enough organic fabric—such as cotton, linen, and silk—to make clothing for everyone. Synthetic fabrics help make clothing affordable and accessible for everyone.
5. Nitrogen Fertilizers
Speaking of modern production techniques, there’s no way to produce enough food for everyone without nitrogen fertilizers. Fertilizer helps plants grow strong and healthy, which makes them more resistant to disease and pests. It also increases their yield, increasing the number of people who can be fed with one harvest.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these five chemistry inventions that make modern life possible. Science is constantly working to create new and exciting solutions to problems that we have every day. Without inventions like plastics, batteries, and antibiotics, life would be much harder for everyone. As time goes on, we will continue to experience new inventions that will benefit and enrich our lives.