Chemistry Merit Badge Guide

chemistry merit badge guide

Chemistry Merit Badge – Why does baking soda foam and bubble when vinegar is poured on it? What happens when dry ice vaporizes and makes a spooky fog for a scary movie? How can charcoal for the outside grill be made of carbon when diamonds are also made of carbon?

Chemistry answers these questions and many more by studying the substances that make up our world and universe.

How substances react with each other, how they change, how certain forces connect molecules, and how molecules are made are all parts of chemistry.

Stretch your imagination to envision molecules that cannot be seen but can be proven to exist and you become a chemist.

Chemistry Merit Badge Requirements

chemistry merit badge requirements
  1. Do EACH of the following activities:
    • Describe three examples of safety equipment used in a chemistry laboratory and the reason each one is used.
    • Describe what a safety data sheet (SDS) is and tell why it is used.
    • Obtain an SDS for both a paint and an insecticide. Compare and discuss the toxicity, disposal, and safe-handling sections for these two common household products.
    • Discuss the safe storage of chemicals. How does the safe storage of chemicals apply to your home, your school, your community, and the environment?
  2. Do EACH of the following activities:
    • Predict what would happen if you placed an iron nail in a copper sulfate solution. Then, put an iron nail in a copper sulfate solution. Describe your observations and make a conclusion based on your observations. Compare your prediction and original conclusion with what happened. Write the formula for the reaction that you described.
    • Demonstrate how you would separate sand (or gravel) from water. Describe how you would separate table salt from water, oil from water, and gasoline from motor oil. Name the practical processes that require these kinds of separations and how the processes may differ.
    • Describe the difference between a chemical reaction and a physical change.
  3. Construct a Cartesian diver. Describe its function in terms of how gases, in general, behave under different pressures and different temperatures. Describe how the behavior of gases affects a backpacker at high altitudes and a scuba diver underwater.
  4. Do EACH of the following activities:
    • Cut a round onion into small chunks. Separate the onion chunks into three equal portions. Leave the first portion raw. Cook the second portion of onion chunks until the pieces are translucent. Cook the third portion until the onions are caramelized, or brown in color. Taste each type of onion. Describe the taste of raw onion versus partially cooked onion versus caramelized onion. Explain what happens to molecules in the onion during the cooking process.
    • Describe the chemical similarities and differences between toothpaste and an abrasive household cleanser. Explain how the end use or purpose of a product affects its chemical formulation.
    • In a clear container, mix a half cup of water with a tablespoon of oil. Explain why the oil and water do not mix. Find a substance that will help the two combine, and add it to the mixture. Describe what happened, and explain how that substance worked to combine the oil and water.
  5. List the five classical divisions of chemistry. Briefly describe each one, and tell how it applies to your everyday life.
  6. Do EACH of the following activities:
    • Name two government agencies that are responsible for tracking the use of chemicals for commercial or industrial use. Pick one agency and briefly describe its responsibilities.
    • Define pollution. Explain the chemical impacts on the ozone layer and global climate change.
    • Using reasons from chemistry, describe the effect on the environment of ONE of the following:
      1. The production of aluminum cans.
      2. Burning fossil fuels.
      3. Single-use items, such as water bottles, bags, straws, or paper.
    • Briefly describe the purpose of phosphates in fertilizer and in laundry detergent. Explain how the use of phosphates in fertilizers affects the environment. Explain why phosphates have been removed from laundry detergents.
  7. Do ONE of the following activities:
    • Visit a laboratory and talk to a chemist. Ask what that chemist does, and what training and education are needed to work as a chemist.
    • Using resources found at the library and in periodicals, books, and the Internet (with your parent’s permission), learn about two different kinds of work done by chemists, chemical engineers, chemical technicians, or industrial chemists. For each of the positions, find out the education and training requirements.
    • Visit an industrial plant that makes chemical products or uses chemical processes and describe the processes used. What, if any, by-products are produced, and how they are handled.
    • Visit a county farm agency or similar governmental agency and learn how chemistry is used to meet the needs of agriculture in your county.

Chemistry and Chemicals

Chemistry and Chemicals scientist

Chemistry is one of the physical sciences. Science is the study by which people try to understand and explain our world and the universe in a rational, logical manner.

Chemistry is sometimes called the central science because its properties are important to biologists, physicists, geologists, and astronomers alike Chemistry is present throughout modern society in medicine, manufacturing, and agriculture.

1. What Is Chemistry?

Chemicals Scientist

Chemistry is the science of the study of matter. The matter is any. that has ma and space. Chemistry includes the study of substances, their structures, properties, and reactions, and the energy changes of those reactions.

Chemicals are made of molecules, and molecules are made of actors, Look at the water. It is a chemical, A water molecule is two hydrogen atoms attached to one oxygen atom.

Chemicals are considered pure substances because they are made up of only one type of substance. Often we encounter mixtures of several chemicals, Milk, for example, is mostly water.

Yet, milk also contains other chemicals such as calcium, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

You can pick up the container of any commercial food or household product-like cereal, deodorant, or vitamins-and read the list of ingredients. All these ingredients are chemicals. Even the bottle and label are chemicals.

2. Compounds

Compounds on chemistry

When writing chemical formulas, chemists show the number of each type of atom in the compound. For example, the molecular formula of methane is CH, which means that there are four hydrogens (H) atoms and one carbon (C) atom in each molecule of methane.

A structural formula shows how these atoms are arranged.

Often, chemists need to know how to draw the structures of compounds. By knowing the structures, they can then understand many of the properties of the compounds.

Some molecules are very simple, containing only a few atoms. The air we breathe contains oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N). and carbon dioxide (CO2), along with other gases.

Other molecules are more complicated. Some contain dozens of atoms, while others contain hundreds or even millions of atoms. Table sugar is sucrose (C12H2011).

The deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) within our cells that contains our genetic code is composed of only carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, but it contains millions of these atoms in specific combinations.

3. What Are Chemicals?

Chemicals in Bottle

When people hear the word chemicals, they may feel afraid. They unconsciously may think that all chemicals are poisonous, but not all chemicals are even dangerous. Remember that water (HO) is a chemical.

Everything in your house is made from chemicals, including the food you eat and the clothes you wear. Even your body is made of chemicals. To live and breathe, you must continuously carry out many chemical reactions within your body.

You eat complex molecules of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Your body uses these molecules for energy and to make new biomolecules for tissues such as muscle, hair, and nails.

4. Chemical Reaction

Chemical Reaction

In a chemical reaction, the atoms in a molecule are combined or rearranged with atoms in another molecule to form a new compound that has different physical and chemical properties.

Combustion is one way to tell if a chemical change has taken place Try this experiment with the flame-one sign of chemical change. Look for another clue of a chemical change.

Step 1 – Put on safety goggles. Stand a short candle (2 or 3 inches tall) n a bowl, with water about a half-inch deep. You may attach the clay to the candle and bowl to help keep the candle upright. Light the candle. Hold a cold. dry glass cup (not plastic) upside down over the burning candle. Does moisture collect on the inside of the glass!
Step 2 – Set the glass upside down over the candle. Note how and when the level of the water in the glass rises. Does the water now occupy about one-fifth of the volume of the glass?
Chemical Reaction

What Happened?

The three things necessary for combustion to occur are heat, fuel, and oxygen. Dry air is about 21 percent oxygen and 78 percent nitrogen by volume, with small amounts of other gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

The flame in this experiment actually goes out before all the oxygen is consumed, while the heat of the flame causes the gases to expand.

When the flame goes out, the temperature in the glass drops, causing the gases to contract and the water level to rise quickly. What is left in the glass is mostly nitrogen.

Chemists use equations to show the reactant and product molecules. Candle wax is often a variety of waxes with long chains of carbons and hydrogens. An equation for the combustion of hexamine, a common wax, is:

Reactants to Products

C6H12N4 + 602 + 3CO2 + 6H2O + 2N2 + heat

5. Physical Change

ice melting in Physical Change

Ice melting and water evaporating are examples of physical change. In contrast to chemical reactions, physical change does not form new compounds.

Water is still H2O whether it is a liquid, solid, or gas. The change from one state to another does not change water’s molecular structure.

Every spring, a physical change occurs naturally when solid ice on mountaintops melts, flows as water downhill and evaporates to water vapor. This can be represented by the equation

H2O (S) -> H2O (l) -> H20 (g) 

Solid -> Liquid -> Gas

Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. At room temperature, it changes directly from a solid to a gas. The surface temperature of dry ice is very cool at -109 degrees Fahrenheit.

Find an adult to help you with this experiment. Warn people in your area that this experiment will be noisy.

Step 1 – Put on safety goggles to protect your eyes.
Step 2 – Fill a bowl with ice water and pour 1/4 cup water into an empty aluminum soda can. The smaller the opening in the top of the can, the better.
Step 3 – Put on oven mitts, then set the can on a stove burner. Turn the burner on high. Once steam begins to rise from the can, heat it for three more minutes. Caution: Keep your hands away from the hot steam!
Step 4 – Turn off the heat. Wearing oven mitts and using tongs, quickly remove the can. turn it upside down, and submerge it in the ice water
Physical Change

What Happened?

The volume of a liquid expands by a factor of more than 1.000 when it becomes a gas. Imagine the steam inside the can pushing out the air molecules as it starts to boil.

The molecules of steam in their high-energy state spread out. with most escaping out of the top of the can.

When the can is inverted in the ice water, the water vapor becomes trapped in the can. The ice water quickly cools the can and the steam inside.

The gas steam contracts by a factor of more than 1,000 when it liquefies. Suddenly, the pressure inside the can drops and the can implodes. Bang!

Also Read: Geology Merit Badge

Safety and Chemistry

scout chemical safety

Some chemicals are safe enough to be eaten- such as sugar, cooking oil, and baking soda Other chemicals are so potentially dangerous that you need to wear gloves and safety goggles when you handle them.

Examples of dangerous chemicals are bathroom cleaners, drain cleaners. and acids. Many chemicals must be stored safely to avoid possible fires or poisonings. Flammable materials should be stored away from heat and flame, which are sources of ignition.

1. Storage in Your Home

If you have younger brothers and sisters, make sure your parents place child-proof locking devices on kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Before storing a chemical at home, read the label.

If the label recommends keeping it out of reach of children, store the chemical in a high or locked cabinet. Chemicals such as drain cleaners and bleach have warning labels.

2. Storage in Your School

At most schools, all chemicals are stored in a common area, often organized by hazard classification. Schools try to select less-toxic chemicals and minimize chemical use to reduce waste and safety risks.

Teachers working with chemicals receive training in safe storage, proper use, potential hazards, and disposal. Schools have a chemical spill plan in case of an accident.

3. Storage in Your Community

Businesses in your community use chemicals that can be toxic if not stored or used correctly.

A spilled chemical on business property could be washed by rain into a local stream, which could drain into a town’s water supply. The government regulates the proper use, storage, and disposal of chemicals.

4. Material Safety Data Sheet

What would you do if you accidentally splattered a chemical in your eyes! You should read the container’s label and follow the instructions. The label might tell you to rinse your eyes thoroughly and seek medical attention.

In the hospital’s emergency room, the nurse would ask what you splattered in your eyes. A bug killer called Bug-B-Dead might be all you knew. The nurse would know the chemicals were pesticides, but which one? A material safety data sheet is important in these situations.

By U.S. law, all chemical manufacturers and importers of hazardous substances-like pesticides, household cleaners, or even paint-must write an MSDS to tell users about potential hazards.

An MSDS gives both consumers and emergency personnel the correct procedures for using a particular substance.

A government agency called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration monitors exposure to chemicals in the workplace and MSDS reporting.

An MSDS allows the hazardous chemical manufacturer to alert the chemical user and emergency personnel about important safety information. Although formats can differ, U.S. law requires an MSDS to include certain data.

With your parent’s permission, find MSDS reports on paint and an insecticide. On both MSDS reports, look for the following information:

  • Toxicity and health effects – both immediate upon exposure and long-term exposure effects.
  • First aid – what to do if the product gets in a person’s eyes or on the skin, or is breathed into the lungs or swallowed.
  • Reactivity if the substance will react with itself or other products, and the chemicals released if the product is burned.
  • Storage temperature, location, and handling to minimize risk.
  • Disposal-directions and legal limitations.
  • Protective equipment-safety equipment for personal protection.
  • Spill and leak-procedures or actions to take in the event of a spill or leak.
  • Physical data-for example, its melting point, boiling point, flash point, and flammability (if it will burn)

A material safety data sheet (MSDS) will contain several sections, all required by U.S. law. Eight sections are now required on an MSDS, though some internationally formatted material safety data sheets will have 16 sections,

The eight required sections are, with descriptions:

Section 1: The identity of the material and the manufacturer’s name, address, and emergency phone contact information.

Section 2: Hazard Ingredients. This section lists all of the hazardous ingredients in the product, as well as some of the exposure limits.

Section 3: Physical and Chemical Characteristics. This section tells what the product will look like, smell like, and also how it will react. 

Section 4: Fire and Explosion Hazard Data. This section lists the flashpoints, firefighting materials/methods, and any unusual burning characteristics of the product. 

Section 5: Reactivity. This section tells what and how other chemicals will react with the product.

Section 6: Health Hazard Data. This section lists any known routes of entry into the human body, as well as the associated health risks from each route of entry. It also lists any known cancer research that may have been done on the product.

Section 7: Precautions for Safe Use. This section lists procedures to use in case of accidental spills, as well as information about proper disposal. 

Section 8: Control Measures. This section lists ways to avoid making contact with the human body such as respiratory protection, gloves, and ventilation.

the information above is quoted from the website.

5. Safety Equipment

Chemistry experiments are fun as long as everyone is safe. Make sure your experiment is safe by learning about recommended safety equipment.

a. Safety Goggles

When working with chemicals, wear splash-proof goggles to protect your eyes from spilled or splattered chemicals. Remember that goggles worn around your neck or forehead do not protect your eyes. Some state laws require every person in the laboratory to wear goggles.

b. Fire Blanket

Most clothing is flammable. If someone’s clothing catches on fire, wrap the person in a fire blanket to cut off the supply of oxygen to the flames, just like snuffing out a candle.

c. Safety Gloves

Disposable gloves like those used in the medical or dental profession are safety gloves. Some chemicals, like acids, are unsafe for skin contact. Although some substances can soak through gloves, this extra layer of protection can save hands from a chemical bum.

d. First-Aid Kit

For minor cuts, burns, and abrasions, have a first-aid kit handy. The supplies in a first-aid kit also can work for temporary assistance until proper medical attention is available.

e. Fire Extinguisher

If a flammable chemical is spilled near an open flame, a dry chemical fire extinguisher can be critical in putting out a fire.

For those of you who want to learn more about chemistry merit badge materials such as:

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Separation
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Pollution

You can read the list of material in the pamphlet.

Careers in Chemistry

Careers in Chemistry

Did you enjoy the work you did to earn the Chemistry merit badge? If so, you might like to learn more about careers in chemistry and related fields.

To prepare for a career in any branch of chemistry, a high school student should take as many science and mathematics courses as possible.

1. Chemist

A chemist is a professional who normally has at least a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, which prepares one to work in many different positions: industry, business, government, research institutions, and teaching,

Training Required

Chemists with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry attended a college or university and took about a quarter to a third of their courses in chemistry, with several supporting courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science. 

Many chemists stay in school after earning a bachelor’s degree and earn advanced degrees. The master’s degree typically requires two years of study, and the doctorate requires at least three years beyond the master’s degree.

2. Industrial Chemist

Scarcely anything used by society is untouched by chemistry. Big chemical companies and petroleum companies, obviously, employ chemists, as do pharmaceutical companies, large manufacturers, utilities, and biotechnology companies, to name a few. 

Most chemists work in the industry. A business using chemicals often has several choices for a chemist like technical sales and service, manufacturing, marketing, and research and development.

3. Chemical Engineer

A chemical engineer is a professional with a broad background in chemistry combined with training in manufacturing principles, physical design, and economics. Computers are a vital tool for chemical engineers. These professionals often command higher salaries than chemists and many other engineers. 

They may work in all areas of manufacturing, government, and private consulting. A chemical engineer’s first position could be in a refinery, chemical plant, or engineering firm.

There are positions in which chemists and chemical engineers are interchangeable. 

Chemical engineers can advance in company management or by private consultants. Chemical engineers have many doors open to them; they also can move on to careers in law or medicine.

Training Required

The student who enrolls in an engineering college takes basic engineering courses for the first two years and basic chemistry courses. 

In the third or fourth year, in addition to some of the advanced courses that a chemistry major would take, there are specialized courses in chemical engineering. 

The student would also have courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science

4. Chemical Technician

Chemical technicians are trained mainly in chemistry laboratory methods. They have knowledge of chemistry but not the extensive knowledge of theory that the chemist and chemical engineer have.

Chemical technicians have many responsibilities in manufacturing plants, often as members of teams that include chemists, chemical engineers, craftspeople, production employees, and maintenance workers. 

They may install or operate the machinery used to make chemicals. They may analyze products from a new process under testing, or they may be part of teams that run hundreds of analyses every day in a manufacturing plant.

Chemical technicians may join chemists in research and development or help chemical engineers run pilot plants. 

Their training and skills fit them for many positions in the chemical industry. They have the flexibility to handle different responsibilities in a plant as needed. 

Chemical technicians are not limited to the chemical industry, but could be useful anywhere there is a call for their skills in other industries that use chemicals.

In hospital laboratories testing medical samples or hospital materials, or in federal, state, and local government agency laboratories

Training Required

Two or three years of study beyond high school are needed to qualify for the associate’s degree given by many junior colleges and technical institutes. 

Students training as chemical technicians takes courses in chemistry with emphasis on laboratory procedures, test methods, and instruments used for analysis. 

Besides chemistry, students usually take mathematics, English composition, technical report writing, and perhaps a few broadening courses-political science or sociology, for example.

5. Other Careers in Chemistry

Students who find that the laboratory is not for them but enjoy writing may find that technical writing or science reporting is a good career that combines their interests and talents. 

A career as a science librarian also is a specialty that may be appropriate. A chemist or chemical engineer with a doctorate may specialize in research and development. 

Chemists teach in high schools, technical institutes, colleges, and universities.

Chemists interested in law may become patent attorneys. This specialty is best served by an undergraduate degree in chemistry, followed by a law degree.

Another career that builds on an undergraduate degree in chemistry is high-level management in industrial companies. The aspiring manager would need a master’s degree in business administration. 

Chemists finding their interests and talents pointing this way after they begin an industrial career can take night-school courses until they complete their degree requirements.

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or chemical engineering can lead to interesting careers that overlap many other disciplines. 

For example, a career in biochemistry, biotechnology, or medical research could begin with an undergraduate degree In chemistry. 

There are many opportunities in environmental chemistry, clinical chemistry, geochemistry, and related areas in which chemistry is applied to other disciplines.

Chemistry students who think they may be interested in these careers dream about them by taking appropriate science electives as part of their undergraduate studies.

Hans Curt
I might be a Mechanical Engineer on the paper, but I was an Eagle Scout enthusiast since childhood.