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Scientists have found that a super-reactive chemical in Earth’s atmosphere lasts much longer than previously thought. In fact, they think millions of tons of this chemical can stay in the atmosphere for several hours.
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This super-reactive chemical in Earth’s atmosphere may be a concern
The chemicals involved are hydrotrioxides. The chemical is made up of one hydrogen atom and three oxygen atoms. However, perhaps the most concerning thing about the lifespan of these super-reactive chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere is the implications for human health and Earth’s climate.
It was previously believed that hydrogen peroxide lasted a very short time. Now, however, a new study suggests it can stay in Earth’s atmosphere for at least 20 minutes, or even longer. Because it is the product of common chemical reactions, new amounts of the chemical are produced almost continuously.
Moreover, this super reactive chemical present in the earth’s atmosphere can react very quickly with other compounds. Since aqueous oxides contain extra oxygen atoms, they can be highly flammable. In fact, other peroxides have been used in rocket fuels due to their flammability.
This is not a new chemical reaction
It is important to note that this is not a new chemical reaction. The study, published by the researchers in the journal Science At the end of May, this is the first time that we have found evidence of these chemicals in the atmosphere. But now that we know this super-reactive chemical is in Earth’s atmosphere, some scientists are wondering how it might affect our health.
Scientists consider hydrotrioxides to be highly reactive for a reason. Unlike some other chemicals, hydrotrioxides can react with any other chemical. Moreover, almost all chemical reactions create hydroxides. Thus, the researchers estimate that at least 11 million tons of water oxides are formed each year in the atmosphere.
Since this super-reactive chemical is so common in Earth’s atmosphere, scientists believe it could play a key role in how the atmosphere works. What this part is, however, is unclear. To prove these things, scientists will need to do more research on hydroxides as a whole.
While not all of these answers are available yet, it’s always nice to see science confirming that there is something in our world. Yes, the chemical itself may not be new. But its presence in our atmosphere is new knowledge. Now that we know, we can understand what role it might play, and even if it plays a role in the atmospheres of other planets as well.
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