Everything in the universe is made up of matter. The air we breathe, the computers we use, the water we drink – all is composed of matter. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. In Chemistry, thorough investigation of the properties of matter has allowed us to learn what gases create the air, how electricity can be used to power a computer, and what a water molecule looks like. In this introduction to chemistry, you will learn how we know what we know about the world we live in (The study of matter: Classification, Structure, Properties and Changes).
Do you know why some substances, such as copper, can be found in nature in element form while other substances, such as sodium, only exist in nature combined with other elements in compounds? As you study chemical bonding, you will discover the Octet Rule and learn what makes an element stable. Following the Summary of Types of Chemical Bonds, you will learn to distinguish between Metallic Bonding, Ionic Bonding and Covalent Bonding. After your study of chemical bonding, you will be able to identify Intermolecular and Intramolecular Forces and shapes of molecules that form when elements bond together.
Matter is simply the word we use to describe all substances that have mass and take up space. Chemistry is the study of matter. As we learn about matter, it is very helpful to organize the information using a classification pattern. As a science, Chemistry involves a great deal of measurement and calculation. In order to communicate with scientists globally, we use the metric system in all our laboratory measurements and calculations. In the concepts presented, you will learn the classification system of matter, the use of the metric system, and the requirements for calculations such as scientific notation and significant figures. (The Study of Matter: Classification, Structure, Properties and Changes).
Did you know that the air you breathe is a solution of gases? Or that the sterling silver jewelry you wear is a solution of solids? Most of the time, when we think of Solution Vocabulary, we think of something dissolved in water. That type of solution is a liquid solution. Of course, Water as a Solvent creates the most common type of solution, but many types of solutions exist. As you study solutions, you will learn to identify saturated and unsaturated solutions, as well as calculate concentrations and changes that occur when a solution forms.
You probably know that lemon juice is an acid, but did you know that your shampoo is a base? There are many common substances found in the study of acids and bases. As you study acids and bases, you will learn to recognize acids and bases from their chemical formulas, and identify the strength of an acid solution (Calculating pH) or the strength of a basic solution (Calculating pOH) by becoming familiar with the pH Scale.
One of the most important tools in the chemistry student’s “backpack” is the periodic table. As you study the periodic table and trends, you will learn the History of the Periodic Table as well as the Modern Periodic Law, which describes how elements are arranged on the table. The periodic table organizes properties such as Metallic Character, Atomic Radius, and Ionization Energy. Chemical properties and trends on the periodic table are important to understand as you learn how elements interact with each other to form the compounds found in the world around us.
One unique problem in Chemistry is that we cannot see the building blocks of the substances we study. How do we know that The Atom is really there? How do we know that it is made up of even smaller particles: the Proton, the Neutron and the Electron? Here, you will travel back through time to learn about the history of the atom in Development of Early Atomic Theory, and scientists such as Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr who made extremely important discoveries. You will also learn about the Quantum Mechanical Model of the atom, which explains the most modern understanding of atomic structure.
You couldn’t live without chemical reactions! The food you eat, the natural gas you use to heat your home, or the medication you take to fight an infection – all of these occur because of chemical reactions. There are many Chemical Reaction Types that occur, and as you study you will be able to identify many kinds of chemical reactions. You will also learn to write a balanced chemical equation (Chemical Equation: Vocabulary; Chemical Equation: Definition; Chemical Equation: Balancing) using the skills you learned in writing compound names and formulas (Compound Names and Formulas: Summary of Compound Types).
Did you know that moles aren't just furry rodents, digging tunnels underground all day? As a chemistry learner, you will work with HUGE numbers of atoms, molecules and ions. These particles make up all the elements and compounds we are familiar with. Chemists have defined a unit that can be used to make it easier to work with very large amounts of particles – the mole. The Mole as a Quantity is similar to the concept of a dozen. When you hear the word “dozen”, you know that it refers to twelve. A dozen eggs is twelve eggs. A dozen golf balls is twelve golf balls. In chemistry, one mole is 602000000000000000000000 particles. That’s a LOT! As you study the mole, you will be able to use this concept to calculate amounts of substances used in chemical reactions.
Why do you have to strike a match to start a fire burning? Why do some chemical reactions give off heat while other reactions absorb heat? Thermochemistry investigates energy and its relation to chemical reactions and processes. As you study thermochemistry, you will learn how different forms of energy apply to chemistry (Define Energy: Kinetic and Potential), how energy can be transferred (Transferring Heat Energy: Exothermic and Endothermic) and how energy is involved in the progress of a reaction (Energy Diagram of a Chemical Reaction).
Why do you keep certain foods in the refrigerator? To prevent spoiling! Did you know that you are actually slowing down a chemical reaction rate? How fast (or slow) chemical reactions occur will be explored in this series of concepts on reaction rates and equilibrium. As you study reaction rates and equilibrium, you will Define Reaction Rate and learn the Factors Affecting Reaction Rate. You will also learn that some chemical reactions are reversible, and investigate how changes in concentration, temperature and pressure affect reversible reactions.
Have you ever heard the expression “It’s Greek to me!”? The word stoichometry (from the Greek language) is a term used in chemistry to describe the amounts of reactants and products involved in a chemical reaction (Chemical Reactions – Stoichiometry). In your study of stoichiometry, you will use the skills you learned in the concept of the mole (the Mole as a Quantity) to calculate amounts of reactants used and products formed in a chemical reaction. You will also write Compound Names and Formulas and balanced chemical equations (Chemical Equations: Balancing) as you apply your newly learned stoichiometry skills.
In order to drink water to quench our thirst, it has to be in liquid form. In order to breathe the oxygen we need to live, it has to be present as a gas. The Types of Intermolecular Forces that are present in a substance determine its States of Matter at different temperatures. As you study intermolecular forces and states of matter, you will learn to identify the three types of intermolecular forces and how they determine whether a substance is a solid, liquid or gas at room temperature. You will also learn how energy is associated with changes from a solid to a liquid to a gas.
People don't just find safety in numbers, so do compounds! The elements found in nature combine into compounds in order to become more stable, fulfilling the Octet Rule. Whether it involves hydrogen and oxygen bonding together to form a water molecule, or sodium and chlorine forming a salt crystal, the formation of a compound is a very important concept in Chemistry. You will learn to identify the types of compounds that form (Summary of Compound Types) and distinguish between ionic compounds (Ionic Compounds: Defining Binary Compounds) and covalent compounds (Covalent Compounds: Definition of Binary Compounds). You will also learn the language of chemistry: writing compound names and formulas (Ionic Compounds: Formulas from Binary Compound Names and Covalent Compounds: Formulas from Binary Compound Names) (Ionic Compounds: Naming Binary Compounds from Formulas and Covalent Compounds: Naming Binary Compounds from Formulas).
Whether it’s an exciting ride in a hot air balloon, or a birthday party balloon filled with helium, our understanding of gases is an important Chemistry concept. As you study gas laws, you will learn the concept of an Ideal Gas, and how changes in pressure, temperature and volume affect gases. Calculations are involved, so have your calculator ready!
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