regarding viewsofalien's question: you wrote that "Visible light tends to get scattered and blocked by crystallinity, i.e. regularly repeating atoms" -- what about diamonds, quartz... all kinds of jewels/gems? they are all crystalline and highly transparent.
Excellent point username: constantrandomness (and totally non-random!).
What makes different things transparent, translucent and opaque?
Well, username: viewsofalien, it all has to do with visible light since that’s what our eyes “see.” Does an object block visible light, smear it, or let it straight through? That will determine it. Visible light tends to get scattered and blocked by crystallinity, i.e. regularly repeating atoms. “Amorphous” materials like glass tend to let light go right through!
What makes a Gold atom different from an Sodium atom?
Hey anonymous, if that really is your name. When you get down to it, the number of protons in an atom’s nucleus determine what kind of element it is. (Then you have to have an equal number of electrons to make it neutral.)
Keen eye username: scientificsurfer. Yes the oxygen gas originates with the oxygen atoms in the water. (We’re going to break photosynthesis down into its individual mechanisms in a little bit, and that particular aspect is accomplished by the photosystem II structure. As you probably know!)
However, for the benefit of the less technical readers, photosynthesis removes C-O-O from the air and puts O-O back in. So in a “net effect” sense, it’s like taking away carbon from the air.
Is there a decay rate in heat at distance from a flame/heat source? Ie 6 inches away from a fire that's burning at 1200 deg F is what temp? 12" inches? Etc
This is a great question, anonymous! And a complicated one, because heat is a weird thing that moves from one place to another in multiple ways. When heat is absorbed by a substance, it raises the temperature of that substance. Heat can move by conduction, convection, and radiation.
In the coming days, the Clear Science staff will try to unpack this a little and throw some clarity on it.
Perhaps you could burn glass with chlorine trifluoride?
Chlorine trifluoride (ClF3) is a truly horrible chemical, which will in fact react with glass. What it does isn’t so much “burning” which is an oxidation, but is rather fluorination. This means it will strip the oxygens off the silicon atoms and add fluorine instead, making silicon fluoride compounds.
A common use of chlorine trifluoride is to fluorinate uranium, which is the first step in reprocessing nuclear material. This turns the uranium into uranium hexafluoride (UF6).