Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is this molecule?

  1. Aug 12, 2007 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    This molecule has been immortalized in a sculpture on the boardwalk of the city of Halifax, NS.

    Wondering if anyone recognizes it.

    I see it has a carbon backbone and a benzene ring, but I don't know much else. I'm afraid that, other than the arrangements and bonds, there's no indication do what the various individual atoms are. And it has no name, so no help there.

    I tried to guess what molecule might be significant to Haligonians, but it is clearlry not a molecule of TNT or nitroglycerin!


    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2007 #2
    The city of Halifax had an explosion in 1917, a very large explosion.:surprised That maybe has some signifigance with the statue,other than that i think it could be a plastic or an organic ester of some sort.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halifax_Explosion
  4. Aug 13, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It is nearly Nitrocellulose (gun cotton) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrocellulose
    Could be a bit of artistic licence, or the sculptor wasn't up on his chemistry?
  5. Aug 13, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Without knowing which of the 'balls' are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen... it is not possible to know. For example, the 'benzene' ring has substitution at the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock position that could be protons. There is no substitution at the 10 o'clock position which indicates that the 10 o'clock position is occupied by something other than carbon (perhaps nitrogen). The branched chain on the left shows protons on the methyl groups (I think) so it appears that the sculptor intends to show protons if they are present. The benzo-fused 5-member ring on the right side of the benzene (?) ring shows at least two positions (exo to the 6-member ring) that contain a hetero atom (N, S, O) but without knowledge of the electronic nature of the bonds in that ring (single, double, aromatic) it is impossible to tell.

    Perhaps it is just art intended to reflect the city's association with Science and Technology (Dalhousie University?).
  6. Aug 13, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member


    It knocked objects off shelves in Truro, 100km away and was heard 360km away in Cape Breton.

    It is heralded as the largest manmade explosion in history, up until the bomb at Hiroshima. And at 3 kilotons, it rivals even that, which was a mere 13kT.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2007
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What is this molecule?
  1. Whats the molecule? (Replies: 13)

  2. What molecule is this? (Replies: 1)