A selective, annotated collection of the best links for Web-based lessons and tutorial materials for Chemistry

Web-based tutorial materials

Note: Links that have recently changed are indicated by >
Links contained in {braces} are archives that presumably are no longer being maintained
links that were inaccessible at the last link-check (20 Nov 2006) are indicated in strikeout type,

Acid-base and aquatic chemistry

>Acids, bases, pH tutorial - (University of B.C.); Acid-base review (UNC-Chapel Hill)

Acid-base without algebra A simple graphical method of solving pH problems that gives as good answers as algebraic solutions and provides a global view of what species are significant at any pH. Especially useful for polyprotic systems which would otherwise require solution of many simultaneous equations.

ChemBuddy pH Calculation tutorials - an extensive set of online tutorials covering most aspects of acid-base calculations.

The fall of the proton: Will this acid react with that base? How to understand acid-base reactions (This simple view of modern acid-base theory dates from 1954, but still hasn't made it into most textbooks!)

>Acid-base titration simulator - by Bob Hanson is a flexible, easy-to-use page that allows students to explore a large variety of acid-base systems, including polyprotic ones. There is also the choice of using "first-year" or mass-charge balance methods.

Introduction to Lewis acid-base chemistry is intended to support an organic chemistry course given by Sergio Cortes at U Texas - Dallas. This particular page is an HTML rendition of the original PDF file, so the graphics leave something to be desired.

Analytical Chemistry

The analytical chemistry springboard Very nicely organized and annotated, by Knut Irgum

Analytical instruments and spectroscopic concepts - this site, nicely organized by Tom Chasteen of Sam Houston State U., contains tutorial materials on various topics in the form of Web pages, PDF files and Quicktime movies.

Analytical resources from Sheffield Hallam University (UK) has a number of tutorials on chromatography, visible- and IR absorption, and NMR.

Analytical Sciences Digital Library - This NSF-sponsored site contains links to a variety of materials relating to analytical chemistry, including Web pages and lab manuals for individual courses.

What is mass spectrometry? A nicely organized set of "FAQ"-like introductory pages at this American Society for Mass Spectrometry site.

Atoms and quantum theory

Quantum States of Atoms and Molecules is the first of a series of digital "Living Textbooks" published by the Journal of Chemical Education.

Atoms and the periodic table - a six-chapter first-year level treatment of basic quantum theory, atomic spectra, electron configurations, chemical periodicity and the organization of the periodic table. Part of S.K. Lower's General Chemistry Virtual Textbook.

Primer on Quantum Theory of the Atom - A set of in-frequently asked questions in the form of a quantum catechism. (Students: you can have some fun by asking your teacher some of the simpler questions, like "why does the electron not fall into the nucleus", but make sure you  know the answer first!)

Introduction to the electronic structure of atoms and molecules - a well-organized series of pages which extend into chemical bonding. (Alfred Bader, McMaster U)

An introduction to quantum mechanics features a nicely-organized set of short pages with interesting graphics and a minimum of mathematics. Many are accompanied by voice descriptions of the material displayed. This multi-authored site is one of several "Betha Chemistry Tutorials" at Ohio State U.

Theoretical Chemistry: a Self-Guided Introduction for College Students - this very nicely done site by Jack Simons of U. Utah "is intended to provide college science majors with a brief introduction to the field of theoretical chemistry, both in a historical context and as it is practiced today." The sections vary in difficulty, but some are suitable for HS level.

The basics

What is Chemistry all about? An introduction to chemical science. This tutorial attempts to present the major concepts that define modern chemistry, without, of course, getting into the gory details! As far as possible, macroscopic and microscopic views are presented in parallel; thus the concept of composition is divided into formula and structure. Energetics, dynamics, and synthesis are the other principle concepts. The unit concluded with an illustrated summary of the main currents of modern chemistry. (S. Lower, Chem1 Virtual Textbook)

Preliminaries: stuff you should know before delving too far into Chemistry - a set of five elementary "pre-Chemistry" tutorials covering the following topics: classification and properties of matter, density and buoyancy, energy, heat and temperature, units and dimensions, measurement error, significant figures and rounding off (these last three topics are identical with the first three in the lesson described immediately below.) (S. Lower, Chem1 Virtual Textbook)

Matter and measure: all about units, uncertainty, significant figures,and how to deal with experimental error. Thorough coverage of the basic ideas relating to units and dimensions, the SI system, accuracy, precision, and uncertainty in measurements, significant figures and rounding off, treatment of random and systematic error, standard deviation. There is also an introduction to the statistical treatment of data that covers confidence intervals, small-sample statistics (Student's t), and some of the more important tests commonly encountered in quantitative chemistry.

Chemical reaction stoichiometry site provides tutorials for both beginners and advanced students on how to generate a proper set of chemical equations to represent the stoichiometry of a reacting system of any degree of complexity.

Writing Chemical Reactions - this PDF document by Steve Marsden provides an overview, with worked examples, of the types of reactions that fall within the scope of the AP exams.

Introduction to basic atomics, mole concept, calculations based on formulas and equations, and nomenclature - (S.K. Lower, SFU) these five lessons offer in-depth treatment of these topics at an introductory level.

>ChemBalancer A game that illustrates balancing equations in a concrete way (students actually see the molecules appear on the screen as they type in coefficients - thus they can count up the number of each type of atom.) This is now a Web-based Windows-only program implemented in DHTML and JavaScript which supplants the older Visual Basic version. A Teacher's lesson plan is also available.

ChemLand is a suite of Flash-based interactive simulations of various observable and unobservable phenomena at both the macroscopic and molecular scales, allowing the user to change experimental parameters and observe results. These programs have been used as in-class exercises in both large and small lecture sections and as the foundation for out-of-class assignments. From Bill Vining's group at U Mass. Amherst. (≤ 2006)

IUPAC Nomenclature page; Basic Chemical Nomenclature tutorial (Kerry Karukstis, Harvey Mudd College); A brief nomenclature tutorial with exercises (U North Carolina - Chapel Hill)

Naming chemical substances is part of S. Lower's Chem1 Virtual Textbook and is intended for first-year students.

About Temperature - a very nicely-done page by Beverly Lynds.

Significant figures: The excellent Significant figures tutorial by David Dice allows you to test your understanding as you go along. For a slightly wonky take on the subject, see Brad Thomposon's {"Good enough for Chemistry}: a tragedy in three scenes".

Stoichiometry - this U of N. Carolina site presents material on balancing equatins, the Mole, and various aspects of chemical arithmetic.

Balancing chemical equations - a graded series of drills based on a collection of more than 1200 chemical reactions. From Mark R. Leach.

What is pseudoscience? All about pseudoscience, bad science, and pathological science. How to tell the difference from science.

Molar Masses: Atomic, molecular and formula masses or "weights" - a nice tutorial, with built-in quiz, for beginning students. (David Dice)


The Cell Chemistry page by Ken House (a part of Ken's Bio-Web References) is an extensive and well-organized collection of links to specific areas of biochemistry and related chemistry tutorial materials.

Learning about photosynthesis This collection of links suitable for students provides access to a variety of sites ranging in level from elementary through college.

Chemical bonding

All about chemical bonding. Comprehensive "virtual textbook" at the college General Chemistry level. Covers 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. (Steve Lower, SFU)

Chemogenesis: How chemical reactivity emerges from the periodic table of the elements - this free Web book by Mark Leach ties together a lot of chemistry in a fascinating, comprehensive way, with lots of excellent illustrations including many specialized periodic tables. The pages on the use of van Arkel-Ketalaar triangles and the Laing Tetrahedron to correlate various bonding types are especially interesting.

A set of curricular material built around the use of the Spartan molecular modeling software and aimed at the high-school level can be found at the excellent site put up by Mike Ellison and Rosa Hemphill.

Chemical Bonding - some really basic stuff: (Steve Lower, SFU)

Models of chemical bonding - Do chemical bonds really exist? Nobody has ever "seen" one, so the best we can do is construct models. Here is a brief21.11.2006d/webtut/bonding/polcov.html">Covalent, ionic, or what? Coming to terms with covalent, ionic, and metallic bonding, and with mi21.11.2006is than your textbook does!

The electron-tunneling model of chemical bonding How can those electron-dot diagrams showing shared electrons happily sitting between the nuclei be consistent with the principle that opposit21.11.2006inDate format:Ge1 -->14.08.2006 you are unlikely to find it in any textbook!

The Molecular 21.11.2006tures arranged by geometry and VSEPR class. A structural representation and bond dimensions are given for e21.11.200621-11-2006ty and bonding in solids - a good discussion of the various definitions of electronegativity, including Sanderson's electronegativity equalization21.11.200621-11-2006it" - Lewis Dot Diagrams ... or not - some of John Denker's thoughts on these subjects.

> VSEPR theory - This summary with easy access to many images is a hypertext version of the chapter on this subject from a textbook by Mark Winter (U Sheffield).

VSEPR for General Chemistry - This Purdue University site features a useful set of practice problems and requires the downloadable CHIME plug-in.

Structure and Chemistry of Coordination Compounds

Fullerene Science - In this module by John Bleeke and Regina Frey, developed as part of the ChemLinks project, fullerene science is used to introduce the following chemical concepts: molecular structure and bonding, solid-state structure, modern spectroscopy, chemical reactivity, and synthesis. The material is presented in the form of an instructor's manual. Student activities and problems are included, as are literature references.

Making Matter: the atomic structure of materials is an extensive collection of tutorial pages relating to solids and includes a large number of images.

Stereochemistry - the Molecular models tutorial by Daniel Berger of Bluffton College covers structure, projections, and chirality at the elementry level. It is intended for use with the Molecular Visions model kit and. requires the Chime plug-in.

The Point Group Tutorial (Emory U.) is a multimedia program designed to help students identify symmetry elements and assign point groups to molecules. The program includes example molecules for each point group and an interactive tutorial based on the traditional flow-chart method for assigning point groups.

Electrochemistry and redox

All about Electrochemistry - An in-depth, comprehensive treatment in eight sections (Steve Lower)

> Electrochemistry tutorials - a set of nicely-done tutorials and practice problems from Purdue University. The material is organized into two separate sites, one on {electrochemical reactions and the Nernst equation}, and the other on {electrolytic cells}. (≤ 2005)

Oxidation-reduction diagrams - raphical ways of correlatia summary of gng oxidation states of the elements. Latimer, Frost, and Pourbaix diagrams.

{Electrochemistry class notes} (≤ 2004) by J. Baird of Brown Univ.

Redox reactions (UNC-Chapel Hill) Good summary of how to balance redox reactions; also covers cell potentials and Faraday's laws.

Oxidation/Reduction - This comprehensive site by Robert Asato of Leeward CC in Hawaii covers the basics of oxidation numbers and balancing, as well as applications such as batteries, corrosion, and biochemistry. There is also a set of interactive practice exercises.

The fall of the electron. How to predict the direction of oxidation-reduction reactions. Discussion of the activity series of the elements and of oxidation-reduction in metabolism.

A tutorial on batteries and cell thermodynamics by Gary Bertrand includes animated diagrams of charge migration in cells.

Electrochemistry educational resources


All about chemical equilibrium - 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.

UNC-Chapel Hill provides a compact summary of this topic.

Here is a translation of le Châtelier's original paper from Carmen Giunta's excellent Classic Chemistry site.


Properties of gases: matter at its simplest - a six-part "virtual textbook" treatment of the gaseous state of matter by Steve Lower. Includes numerous examples of application of kinetic molecular theory and a section on real gases.

Gas pressure in a can of soda

The Can Crush Demo with a Real Life Example shows that railway tank cars can suffer the same fate as soda cans!

Kinetic Molecular Theory tutorial - a nice Shockwave presentation by Mark Bishop.

This gas simulation from Oklahoma State U. allows the user to adjust many different variables. Detailed instructions are provided that serve as the basis for a number of exploration exercises.


Survey of environmental geobiochemistry provides an overview of "environmental chemistry" in its broadest context: the chemical evolution and constitution of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.

Liquids, solids, materials

"Water: its structure and importance" is a comprehensive and informative Web-based resource on water science by Martin Chaplin of South Bank University (UK).

A gentle introduction to hydrogen bonding and structure in liquid water. This page, by Steve Lower, is suitable for non-chemists.

An illustrated summary of intermolecular forces, and hydrogen bonding by Michael Blaber of Florida State U

The Fullerene Science Module (Bleeke and Frey, Washington U) provides a nice introduction to the world of buckyballs.

Exploring the Nanoworld - This wonderful site is maintained by the NSF-financed Interdisciplinary Education Group at U Wisc-Madison. It uses examples of nanotechnology and advanced materials to explore science and engineering concepts mainly at the college level, but there are also sections for K-12. There are links to movies, lab experiments, kits (including Lego nanobricks) and instructional materials.

Nuclear Chemistry

Nuclear chemistry tutorial links by Steve Marsden

The Particle Adventure: the fundamentals of matter and force. This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory site allows you to explore the world of fundamental particles and forces and then to investigate the experimental evidence and techniques.

Nuclide table - an interactive table of the nuclides by J. Chang of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Inst.

Fusion Energy Resources - a variety of information and educational resources on nuclear fusion from the General Atomics fusion group.

Organic Chemistry

> Free Organic Chemistry textbook - Individual chapters of Organic Chemistry by Daley & Daley can be downloaded as pdf files.

Virtual Textbook of Organic Chemistry - a nicely designed, comprehensive site with tutorials and practice problems. By William Reusch of Michigan State U.

Organic Chemistry Help Immediately ("OCHeM") - this site offers a wide variety of materials: tutorials, Web-flashcards, practice questions, lab information, and practice exams.

Beginning Organic Chemistry "A guide to what sometimes appears to be an impossible task" by David Woodcock (Okanagan U, Canada). See some of his other organic sites.

{Exploring Organic Chemistry: An Electronic Textbook} (≤ 2003) - a very comprehensive and nicely organized site by two faculty at U. Illinois - Springfield.

{Organic Chemistry Online} (≤ 2003) - This tutorial by Paul R. Young of the University of Illinois consists of a series of slides containing brief reviews and graphics on many topics. An {archived version} is available.

Organic Nomenclature - This U. of Calgary site is quite thorough and features drills. The older site by Dave Woodcock of Okanagen University College appears to be unavailable.

Curly Arrows site - This web site is intended to help students learn the use of the "curly arrows" employed in the representation of organic reactions, and to gain practice in using them to draw reaction mechanisms in an interactive environment that provides feedback. (U. of Aberdeen)

Play the Chirality Game - a nice introduction to mirror-image chemistry by the Nobel Institute.

Combinatorial Chemistry Review - a well-organized summary of he principles of combinatorial synthesis, the ability to generate large numbers of chemical compounds very quickly.

{WEB-sters Organic Chemistry} (≤ 2004) - A collection of links to many sites (and not just organic chemistry) organized by Nick Turro and Ron Rusay. Other introductory links can be found here. Also, a set of materials on introductory stereochemistry by A. Parrill and J. Gervay of U. Arizona.

Advanced Chemistry Development offers an on-line service that allows guest users to perform free IUPAC naming for compounds with up to 50 atoms.

Physical Chemistry

Intermolecular forces - a multi-part tutorial covering the principal kinds of weak interactions between molecules with many examples and comparative data.

{Living book of physical chemistry} has some impressive graphics and Maple-assisted exercises on symmetry, kinetic theory, partition functions, group theory, but is a bit short on explanatory material.

Physical Chemistry Animations - a large collection of animations covering many areas of General and Physical Chemistry, collected and organized by Rob Schurko (U Windsor, Canada)

Diffusion, Osmosis and Diffusion Potential - this site by J. Patlak and C. Watters presents some nice simulations with good expanatory material, but navigation within the site is awkward.

Physical Chemistry II Notes by Paul Gans (NYU) consists of Web pages and PDF files on a number of topics. See also his notes on Kinetic-Molecular Theory - a fairly complete, mathematically rigorous treatment

Diffraction crystallography tutorial - Covers basic scattering, reciprocal space, powder diffraction, solving a simple structure, and other aspects of this subject. There are many interactive examples, and the materials may be downloaded for installation on a local server. (Th. Proffen and R.B. Neder, Würzburg)

Surface Chemistry - a comprehensive site by Roger Nix.

Physics background and review

The Physics Hypertextbook - Glenn Elert's very well-done site with interesting graphics and lots of cross-links. Very readable and interesting, set at the "Scientific American" level and suitable for high school and introductory college courses.

College Physics for Students of Biology and Chemistry - a comprehensive hypercourse by Ken Koehler. Some of the exercises require a Mathematica plug-in.

Physics 2000 - this elegantly-done site covers modern physics and its applications to such uses as microwave ovens, catscans, etc. Many of the pages include applets that require a Java-enabled browser. Much of the site appears suitable for high school students.


Macrogalleria provides an engaging and comprehensive introduction to the structure and properties of polymers. This well-crafted site from the University of Southern Mississippi sets a standard that the designers of other topics-based sites could do well to emulate.

TeachingPlastics is the American Plastic Council's (APC) plastics education portal and teaching resource. The site provides suggestions and information for teachers and students through interactive lesson plans for use in the classroom for children K-12.



Basic Infrared Spectroscopy - a concise introduction followed by examples with detailed interpretations. (P. Young, U Illinois-Chicago)

Magnetic Resonance

NMR Spectroscopy, Principles and Applications. This is a fairly detailed account by Henry Rzepa of Imperial College (UK). It is intended for second-year students.

NMR: "a nice little tutorial" from Sheffield Hallam University (UK). This is a good place to start if you are just trying to understand what NMR is all about.

NMR basics tutorial -This excellent tutorial site by Joseph Hornak of RIT starts at the very beginning, including the basic math required to understand NMR., and takes the subject up through Fourier transforms and spin-echo.

Applications of 1H NMR spectroscopy - A very nice tutorial on this subject.

Mass spectrometry

What is mass spectrometry? A nicely organized set of "FAQ"-like introductory pages at this American Society for Mass Spectrometry site.

{Mass spectrometry home} - Perdue U. site by George Bodner

Mass Spectrometry: "The Martian fossils" page by Jamie Love introduces MS in the very interesting context of determining the origin of the meteorites found in Antarctica.

WebSpectra - This site was established to provide chemistry students with a library of spectroscopy problems. Interpretation of spectra is a technique that requires practice - this site provides 1H NMR and 13C NMR, DEPT, COSY and IR spectra of various compounds for students to interpret.

Surfaces and colloids

Laurie's Colloid and Interface Science home page - maintained by Laurier Schramm, U of Calgary.

Surface chemistry - An introductory collection of tutorial pages by Dr. Roger Nix, U of London.

Surfactants virtual library - Links to information on detergents, soaps, lubricants and related topics, maintained by Paul Huibers of MIT.


Chemical Energetics: all about enthalpy, thermochemistry and the First Law of thermodynamics - An extensive, in-depth but largely non-mathematical substitute for the usual (and rather thin) textbook treatment. S.K. Lower, Simon Fraser University

Thermodynamics of equilibrium: all about entropy, free energy, the Second Law of thermodynamics, and why reactions take place— sometimes. S.K. Lower, Simon Fraser University.

The second law This qualitative presentation by Frank Lambert will be useful to students and others having limited scientific backgrounds, and to teachers who are seeking ways to make the subject more meaningful. See also Shakespeare and Thermodynamics: Dam the Second Law.

Internal Energy, Enthalpy, Entropy, Free Energy, and Free Enthalpy: A Thermodynamics Primer - This is a more comprehensive (and, in parts, more advanced) summary of thermodynamics from the University of Keil (Germany). Probably best for 2-nd year college level and above.

Understanding Entropy - a conceptual, non-mathematical exposition of entropy as a measure of the spreading and sharing of thermal energy. (Excerpts from the more complete Thermodynamics of Equilibrium site referenced above; Steve Lower, SFU)

{The Page of EntRopY} - an very understandable exposition of this difficult topic by Dave Slaven of Saginaw Valley State U.

Energy - The index page at this Cubic Science site looks promising, but it turns out to be a horrible example of what happens when a Web site has not been maintained for 8 years, with mostly dead links. This orphan needs a new step-parent!