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Identifying orgin of everyday materials.

  1. Mar 7, 2009 #1
    This question may belong under the chemistry section, but here goes.

    Does anyone know of a resource that identifies the origin of all the material objects you see around you every day?

    For example, that glass you are holding was origionally silicon oxide, otherwise know as sand.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2009 #2
    The government regulates just about everything. I'm sure that agencies like the FDA will have a database that gives a complete rundown of everything they regulate.
  4. Mar 7, 2009 #3
    I've never seen such a book, but there are books like "How it Works" which breaks down the principles behind everyday household machines and such, so I would think there's an audience for a book like "Where it Comes From", which would trace the origins of everyday materials to their sources.
  5. Mar 7, 2009 #4


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    In case anybody is wondering: I was originally one of my mom's eggs.
  6. Mar 7, 2009 #5


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    I seriously doubt such a list can be made. Automobile tires are made out of corn, I have a cloth bag made from soda bottles, the plastic bottles were made from petroleum products.
  7. Mar 7, 2009 #6
    This is probably open to debate. When you didn't behave yourself your mother, I'm sure, completely ascribed your origin to your father.
  8. Mar 7, 2009 #7
    Maybe NIST can help to some extent: http://www.nist.gov/index.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Mar 8, 2009 #8


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    No one is going to compile such a detailed list, especially if one wants to go back the origin of the extracted raw material, whether its a mine, well or farm.

    One would need to visit each manufacturer in the production chain and look at purchased material records, and then look at the production records to see where virgin material was used and where recycled material is used. Manufacturers track such details with travelers, blend sheets, and various other records, which are part of a quality control/quality assurance system.
  10. Mar 8, 2009 #9
    This is exactly what I was thinking of. Particularilly, I want to be able to point out things that origionally came from oil such as plastics and pretty much anything that has "synthetic" in it's name.
  11. Mar 8, 2009 #10
    I read a great, comprehensive book on glass once, so a similar book about products derived from oil may well exist. You might try searching around on Amazon.
  12. Mar 8, 2009 #11
    See I wonder about this. Are any of the atoms in the original egg still in your body, or have they since all been replaced?
  13. Mar 10, 2009 #12
    Interesting problem. I could imagine the number of atoms having some sort of half life.
  14. Mar 10, 2009 #13


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    Statistically, yes, absolutely. And statistically, every glass of water you drink probably contains a molecule of water once pissed out by George Washington. This has to do with the fact that Avogadro's number is a really big number.

    But on a more serious note, some proteins, for instance the ones that form your corneas, are only created exactly once. You don't get new corneas and the atoms in them don't get exchanged. Well not quite, hydrogens and some oxygens can get exchanged with water, but the carbon atoms are most certainly staying put.
  15. Mar 10, 2009 #14
    Very interesting. Does anyone know why this is? For example, does genetics govern things like this? If I scratch the surface of my cornea, then within a couple days it will heal. How can this be done if the proteins in my cornea can not be re-created?
  16. Mar 10, 2009 #15


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    This book sounds like what you are looking for, "What are these things made of?" ISBN 0 731 2387 5 or What is it Made of? (Experiments in Science) ISBN 0 751 3125 17
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  17. Mar 14, 2009 #16
    Thanks. I'll look that up.

    In reguard to the asside discussion of atoms in you body comming from your primordial egg. Do you include atoms that were once a part of the egg, but then eventyally made their way back to your body?
  18. Mar 14, 2009 #17


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    I think that doesn't matter, since the chances of any atom making it back after leaving your body is incredibly small.
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