Chemistry in a nutshell: The major concepts and ideas of chemical science, and a look at some of the major currents of modern Chemistry. We hope this will motivate you get through the less-fun stuff in the first-year course!
condensed states, liquids, types of solids, intermolecular forces, types of molecular units; hydrogen bonding and water; introduction to crystals, ionic solids, cubic and close-packed lattices. Liquids and interfacial effects. Changes of state: vapor pressure, boiling, and phase maps. Polymers and plastics.
Ten-part tutorial set on covalent bonding and polar covalence, shapes of molecules (VSEPR theory), hybrid orbitals, molecular orbitals applied to simple diatomics, introduction to transition metal d-orbital splitting and band theory of metals and semiconductors.
Covers the fundamental concepts of acids and bases. Except for some stoichiometry and a discussion on pH, this section is largely qualitative. Acid-base equilibrium calculations are not covered in this unit.
This thorough treatment sets out the underlying concepts without invoking thermodynamics or complicated calculations; considerable emphasis is placed on the distinction between Q and K. The section on equilibrium calculations contains problem examples illustrating techniques such as iterative and graphical solutions of polynomials, all of which employ the "systematic" method of organizing information.
covers the quantitative treatment of acid-base equilibria at somewhat greater breadth and depth than is available in standard textbooks. The principles of electroneutrality and mass balance are used to develop exact solutions for common equilibrium problems, and the common approximations and their limitations are explored. At the other extreme, there is an extensive treatment of the use of log-concentration vs. pH graphs for obtaining approximate solutions of equilibrium problems without arithmetic. There is a detailed discussion of the proton-free energy concept (without the thermodynamics!) that is helpful in understanding more complex acid-base systems. Other sections cover practical methods of solving quadratic and higher-order equations, graphical solution of equilibrium problems, titration curves, the carbonate system, physiological applications, and acid rain.
The commonly-taught algebraic method of solving acid-base problems hides the underlying principles and is able to deal with only the simplest systems. Here is a far easier approach that avoids the math, provides a bird's-eye view of what's going on in the solution, and yields equally good results.
Acid-base chemistry can be extremely confusing, particularly when dealing with weak acids and bases. This tutorial presents an updated view of the Brønsted-Lowry theory that makes it easy to understand answers to these questions: What's the fundamental difference between a strong acid and a weak acid? Can you neutralize a weak acid with a weak base? Why are some salts acidic and others alkaline? What is the strongest acid that can exist in water?
All about entropy, free energy, and why chemical reactions do or don't take place. Energy spreading and spontaneous change • What is entropy? • The Second Law • Gibbs free energy • free energy and equilibrium • some applications of entropy and free energy
Chemistry and electricity • galvanic cells and electrodes • potential differences at interfaces • cell potentials and thermodynamics • Nernst equation and its applications • batteries and fuel cells • electrochemical corrosion • electrolytic cells and electrolysis
Rate of a reaction, rate laws • integrated rate laws, half-life• collision theory, activation energy and the Arrhenius equation • elementary processes, reaction mechanisms and chain reactions • kinetics of reactions in solution • catalysts and catalysis • experimental methods
The first three sections of this unit cover units and dimensions, measurement error and significant figures and are duplicated in an early first-semester unit. The last two sections, reliability of a measurement and drawing conclusions from data introduce simple statistics that are needed in analytical chemistry courses.
How to predict the directions of oxidation-reduction reactions while avoiding formal electrochemistry. Similar to Fall of the Proton unit 21c. Coverage of biological redox reactions makes this a useful supplement for biochemistry courses.
Provides an overview of "environmental chemistry" in its broadest context: the chemical evolution and constitution of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. This formed the background reading for the first two weeks of a third-year Environmental Chemistry course. Much of it is suitable for lower-level courses.
In contrast to the common but misleading "entropy is disorganization" line, this tutorial describes entropy as a measure of the spreading and sharing of thermal energy. This concept provides rational, non-mathematical explanations of the effects of temperature change on reaction equilibria and on the colligative properties of solutions.
Below: engraving by Bernard Picart (1673-1733) for an illustration to Fontenelle's Oevres Diverses (1729) depicting an alchemy laboratory
with alembic at centre, and, at right, four putti gathered around a crucible; at left, putto carrying coal in a basket