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Tutor profile: Samuel M.

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Samuel M.
Tutor and Biochemistry Analyst for Five Years
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Questions

Subject: Organic Chemistry

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Question:

What makes phenols acidic?

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Samuel M.
Answer:

As the hydrogen dissociates, the negatively-charged oxygen has resonance with the conjugated benzene ring system. The four resonance structures of this system makes phenol a million times more acidic than ethanol. Substituents of the ring system also play a role. When there is a para-substituted electron withdrawing group, the negative charge can move via pi bonds to the para substituted carbon. So, the electron withdrawing group helps dissipate charge density and increases stability of the conjugate base, making it more stable.

Subject: Applied Mathematics

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Question:

How much energy would it take for Star Lord's space mask to handle the thermal shock of being exposed to absolute zero from room temperature?

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Samuel M.
Answer:

Assuming the material is made of microscopic carbon tubes, which are some of the strongest materials yet invented, it is important to find out how much energy it would take to overcome the surface tension of the material between those temperatures. We can find the energy change due to the temperature gradient, and then relate this to the energy needed to maintain the surface tension. Then, we can relate this to the stored charge needed by substitution and algebraic rearrangements.

Subject: Biochemistry

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Question:

Why is arsenic toxic?

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Samuel M.
Answer:

Arsenic is chemically similar to phosphorus, an important element that helps cells function in their environments. Therefore it can form ions that are accepted into cells, and then interferes with a number of enzymes by binding to them and preventing their ability to contribute to several different steps in aerobic energy metabolism. Over time, the cell experiences stress due to oxygen deprivation and may kill itself. If there is a problem in the normal signaling involved, the cells may also develop into cancer by having uncontrolled cell growth.

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