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What is Iodine?

12/9/2013 2:52:24 PM | by Anonymous


Iodine is a non-metallic chemical element with the symbol of I and atomic number fifty-three. It is one of group elements which are known as the halogens that include chlorine, fluorine and bromine. Most of the heavier elements are quite rate in the universe and can be found in the seawater and minerals. It is essential to trace element needed for proper human nutrition but it may be toxic in its elemental form.


The element of iodine was prepared back in 1811 by Bernard Courtois when he treated the seaweed ash with sulfuric acid. Today, most of the iodine comes from brine that contains sodium iodate or iodides which has calcium carbonate rock called the caliche.


Iodine has a number of useful applications especially in medicine and has a common reagent used in chemistry laboratories. Iodine is a lustrous solid, dark gray with a faintly bluish tinge and if it is heated there will be some melting occurs. However, it will dissolves easily in many organic solvents such as acetone, chloroform and ethanol.


In common with these elements, it can form ionic compounds with the metals by accepting the electron giving the positively charged metal ion and the negatively charged iodations. For instance, potassium iodide will also form covalent compounds with other non metals including the hydrogen and many organic substances.


Many people are familiar with tincture iodine that has a brown solution of element in the alcohol. It is used in the field of medicine as antiseptic or germicide. Its oxidizing properties can make it effective by killing harmful microorganisms. The solution of the element in the water along with potassium iodine can increase its solubility and sometimes it is used as a disinfectant for the emergency purification of drinking water.


In the industry, one of the biggest uses of iodine is the production of acetic from the methanol whereas some other industrial uses the production of iodized salt and the red dye as well as erythrosine which is used as a food colorant in some colored inks. In medicine, there is a small amount of a radioactive isotope of element that can be used as a tracer to check on how the thyroid gland is functioned.


This can also be used to treat patient who has thyroid cancer as it can absorbed the cancerous cells and not absorb the healthy ones. The radioactive iodine is also produced by nuclear accidents and test if swallowed or inhaled; it can tend to accumulate in the thyroid where it can cause cancer or damage.


In the event of accident at a nuclear power plant, the people in the immediate area can be given potassium iodide tablets and these can provide a safe way of absorbing the non-radioactive form of element in order to block the accumulation of the radioactive form in the thyroid.


The element is often used in analytical chemistry by a laboratory reagent. For instance, it is employed in a very sensitive chemical test for starch as it takes two react to form a compound with an intense dark blue color. This can also be used to detect very small quantities of starch.


The unsaturated fats can also combine with the amount of iodine that is proportional to the degree of unsaturation: the lesser saturated the fat is, the more elements will be used up. This forms the basis of iodine value which can be given to fats.

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