Chemistry | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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Displaying 1-15 of 27 results
  • Article

    Aluminum in Canada

    Aluminum is a lightweight, strong and flexible metal that resists corrosion and is 100 per cent recyclable. It is a common material in vehicles, buildings, consumer goods, packaging, power transmission and electronics. Canada’s aluminum industry began at the turn of the 20th century and grew quickly during both World Wars. Today, Canada is the world’s fourth largest producer and second largest exporter of aluminum. The country nevertheless accounts for less than 5 per cent of global production. Aside from one smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia, all Canadian plants are in the province of Quebec. Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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  • Article


    Antimony (Sb) is a silvery-white, lustrous, crystalline solid. Uncharacteristically for metals, it is brittle and conducts heat and electricity poorly. Antimony melts at 630°C and boils at 1380°C. The mineral stibnite is the most important source of antimony.

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  • Article


    Biochemistry, encompasses the study of the chemical nature of living material and of the chemical transformations that occur within it.

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  • Macleans

    Biting Back against Fluoride

    "IT'S THE CRIME of the century," 82-year-old Len Greenall says, his voice rising in passionate indignation. "It's an immoral invasion of bodily privacy." He's sitting at the dining room table of his Surrey, B.C.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on November 25, 2002

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  • Article

    Canada and the Development of the Polio Vaccine

    During the first half of the 20th century, poliomyelitis, a.k.a. polio or “The Crippler,” hit Canada harder than anywhere else. Successive polio epidemics peaked in a national crisis in 1953. By that time, however, scientists at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories of the University of Toronto had made key discoveries that enabled American medical researcher and virologist Jonas Salk to prepare the first polio vaccine. Connaught Labs also solved the problem of producing the vaccine on a large scale. Canada went on to play an important role in the development of the oral polio vaccine and international efforts to eradicate the disease.Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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  • Article


    Chemistry, the science concerned primarily with the structure and properties of matter and with the transformation of one form of matter into another. Now one of the most theoretically and methodologically sophisticated sciences, chemistry had its beginnings in medieval alchemy.

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  • Article

    Chemistry Subdisciplines

    Early chemistry was principally analytical in nature; only as the body of experimental data increased did the present-day specialities evolve. The principal chemical subdisciplines are analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry.

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  • Article


    The term dioxin applies to any of 75 chlorinated derivatives of dibenzo-p-dioxin. The various types of dioxin are quite different from one another, the greatest difference being in their toxicity.

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  • Article

    Food Additives

    Consumers normally consider that the term "food additive" refers to almost all substances, primarily chemical in nature, added to foods during production, manufacture, packaging or storage.

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  • Article


    Hydrogen (H), the simplest, lightest and most abundant chemical element, is the main fuel for the nuclear fusion reactions which power the sun.

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  • Macleans

    Kirkland Lake Eyes Hazardous Waste Plant

    BILL ENOUY IS PROUD of his town. Oh, the jolly looking mayor of KIRKLAND LAKE, Ont., knows the main street needs a facelift, and that something should be done about the shortage of family physicians.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on November 18, 2002

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  • Article


    From earliest times it has been recognized that artificial light prolongs daytime activities. Relaxation and social interaction necessarily occurred after the day's work was done; therefore, indoor lighting has always had a special association with this aspect of living.

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  • Article


    Molybdenum (Mo) is a silver-grey metallic element with an unusually high melting point (2610°C). It is an important alloying element in iron, steels and specialty alloys and is used frequently in combination with other ferrous additives.

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  • Macleans

    More Calcium Needed

    An old wives’ tale reminded Mary Oordt that calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. "There’s a saying that for every baby, you lose a tooth," recalls the managing editor of Lethbridge Living magazine, who began to supplement her diet when she was pregnant.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on August 25, 1997

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  • Article

    Nobel Prizes and Canada

    The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually for achievements that have significantly benefitted humankind. The prizes are among the highest international honours and are awarded in six categories: physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, peace, and economics. They are administered by the Nobel Foundation and awarded by institutions in Sweden and Norway. Eighteen Canadians have won Nobel Prizes, excluding Canadian-born individuals who gave up their citizenship and members of organizations that have won the peace prize.

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