Thursday, July 27, 2006

Your hairdryer knows more solid state chemistry than you do

My favorite hairdryer finally kicked it on Wednesday morning, so now I'm in the market for a new one. My old $25 Vidal Sassoon lasted four years, and since then it seems there has been a quantum leap in hairdryer technology. A lot of the high-end and not-so-high-end gadgets feature "Tourmaline Technology". Tourmalines are a family of minerals with a very complex structure that could consist of up to about ten different elements, though all the members have the elements silicon, oxygen, aluminum, and boron in common. I don't know very much about solid state chemistry, but from what I just read, suffice to say that the structure of the mineral endows it with special properties. When heated, charges migrate within the crystals giving you positive charge at one end and negative charge in the other. A hairdryer with tourmaline crystals reduces frizz and static with the help of the charges emitted. Apparently these crystals give off infrared heat, too, but I haven't read anything about that yet. I'm looking forward to the informative pamphlet about the solid state chemistry of tourmalines that I'm certain will be included with my new hairdryer. ;)

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