Sunday, August 4, 2013

I Cu Oxidizing

It seems that everywhere I turn now a days I see the color mint. I have avoided talking about it because I thought that it, like many fads, would disappear. But it hasn't. It is still the "it" color. Don't get me wrong, I love the color, in fact I think it is my spirit color (like a spirit animal, but just a color), but I would just like to give it a deeper meaning than "it's pretty".

When you are in cities that are, well, getting on in years, you may notice that many of the big, old buildings have beautiful, bright green roofs. Mint roofs. Illustrated here for clarity:

This is not because the architects of yore had any particular affinity for the color. In fact, when first made, these buildings had orangish, brown roofs. Funnily enough, they were the color of copper. You know why? Because the were made of copper!!! SACRE BLEU!!!! QUELLE SUPRISE!!!!!! Here we shall now have a bit of a chemistry lesson. Copper (Cu) does this amazing thing called "oxidation". Basically this means that the electrons on the copper atom get excited and go to a party, some magic happens, and bada boom bada bang, the element turns into another piece of science! In the case of copper, which has two oxidation states, when it reacts with oxygen, water, and carbon dioxide, it can form a compound called copper carbonate which just so happens to have a beautiful greenish, blueish color. So when things are made out of copper, like the top of a building in New York, and are left out in the air for a while, the top layer of copper gets a "patina" of mint. Sadly, though, it does not actually taste like peppermint. That would just be too much excitement for SCIENCE in one day. However, this  "patina" does do something really cool, other than to look pretty (because, as we know, every pretty thing has another purpose that is much more important...okay well maybe not the Kardashians. As far as I can tell they have no purpose other than to show off their beauty. And even that is debatable). By forming a layer on top of the rest of the copper, the patina of mintiness is able to protect the rest of the copper from rusting and dying. Mint here to save the day!

So today when I was wearing my new mint sun hat from C. Wonder, it did not escape my notice that, not only was I being fashionable, I was letting the color live up to its full potential. I allowed it to protect my head in the same way it protects the head of Lady Liberty.

See Now? We now have a better reason to love this season's (and last season's and probably next season's) favorite color. Not only is it pretty, but it is a courageous, noble color that protects roofs all over the world from being destroyed by nature's evils. 

With Mint, Liberty, and Justice for all, I bid you a good night.


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