Chemistry 101

Welcome to Chemistry 101, an introduction to Chemistry. Chemistry 101 will touch on the important topics of first year chemistry and beyond. These Chemistry 101 topics that will be discussed below are matter, atoms, molecules, states of matter, solutions, acids and bases, oxidation-reduction reactions, rates of reactions and equilibrium, thermochemistry and stoichiometry.

Chemistry 101 – Matter

Chemistry 101 begins with the introduction of matter, as chemistry is the study of matter. The atomic theory teaches that matter is made up of pure substances known as atoms and molecules. Atoms are single elemental particles, such as gold, silver and potassium. Molecules are chemical combinations of two or more atoms, such as water (H2O), oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Matter may also be composed of mixtures of substances, such as a glass of orange juice. A glass of juice is a mixture of many different atoms and compounds, which are NOT chemically combined. Because they are not chemically combined, they can be separated by physical means. For instance, water a pure substance, can be removed from orange juice, which is what juice manufacturers do to make concentrate.

Chemistry 101 – Atoms

Chemistry 101 introduces the concept of atoms as the basic units of matter. Atoms are not the smallest units of matter, however. Rather, atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are housed in the nucleus of an atom, and electrons, which surround the nucleus. Protons are positively charged, electrons are negatively charged, and neutrons possess no charge. Atoms differ from one another because of the number of protons present in their nuclei. For instance, atoms with only one proton in the nucleus are all hydrogen atoms. Atoms with 12 protons in the nucleus are all carbon atoms. Atoms are neutral particles, which mean they do not carry a charge.
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Therefore, atoms have equal numbers of protons and electrons. As stated previously, an atom’s identity is determined by the number of protons in its nucleus. Its chemical properties – in other words, what it reacts with – is determined by the number of electrons in its outermost energy level. Elements are made up of one type of atom. For example, a sample of the element gold is made up of far more than a trillion gold atoms. Elements are organized in a Periodic Table. They are organized in the table horizontally by an increasing number of protons and vertically, by recurring chemical properties. Elements in the same vertical column, also known as group, possess similar chemical properties.

Chemistry 101 – Molecules

Chemistry 101 defines molecules as combinations of more than one atom chemically bonded together. The type of bonds that are formed between atoms is determined by their chemical properties, which are ultimately determined by the number of electrons in their outermost energy levels. Atoms form bonds to fill their outermost energy levels with electrons. Molecules have full outermost energy levels. Noble gases, which are nonreactive gases such as helium and neon, do not form molecules because they already have full outermost energy levels. The strength of the bonds that atoms form together determines the resulting molecule’s physical properties, such as state of matter – w


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