Student Question

What are 5 pure elements that can be found in your home?

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Most products and materials that would be found in your home are compounds, mixtures or alloys. Only the most stable elements will resist reacting over time. Metals found in the home are often alloys that incorporate desirable properties of several metals, such as strength and corrosion resistance.

Here are some examples of pure elements that might be found in a home:

Argon and tungsten are in incandescent light bulbs. Argon is inert and therefore keeps the tungsten filament from oxidizing.

Mercury is in some thermostats and in switches in space heaters that turn off when tipped over. Mercury completes the circuit when the appliance is in the upright position, but drains to a lower position and breaks the circuit when tilted.

Copper is used in electrical wiring and in some water pipes.

Carbon is in pencils. What we call pencil lead is actually the graphite form of carbon. The diamond form of carbon is in jewelry and is used as a cutting surface on saw blades designed to cut through metal.

About 20% of the air in your home is oxygen and about 80% is nitrogen.

Phosphorous is on the tips of matches and ignites from the friction of striking them.

Gold is found in jewelry and on the circuit boards in computers and small electronics.

Zinc is used as a coating on nails and screws and in water heaters to prevent galvanic corrosion.

Americium is used in smoke detectors.

Aluminum is used as foil and for beverage cans. Some outdoor furniture is made of cast aluminum because it's corrosion resistant.

Tantalum is used in capacitors in digital cameras, cell phones and tablets.

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