Chemical Measurements

To probe what is happening at the atomic and molecular level, it is necessary to have a framework of macroscopic measurements.

Mechanical Units

To bridge from the macroscopic to the microscopic, there are a number of useful constants used in chemical measurement. Examples are:

The mole

The context of the study of chemistry depends upon several conservation principles which give us an overall understanding of chemical processes.

To characterize atoms of a given elements, a number of measured properties are included with the elements on the periodic table. Some of the measured properties are the ionization energy, electronegativity and the electron affinity.

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Chemistry concepts
 
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Conservation Principles

  • The law of conservation of mass: there is no detectable change in the total mass during a chemical reaction.
    • This important conceptual step in the understanding of chemistry was discovered by Lavoisier.
  • The law of definite proportions: pure compounds always contain the same elements in the same proportion by mass.
    • This principle was discovered by French chemist J. L. Proust in quantitative experiments in 1799.

Both of these principles provided groundwork for the postulates of John Dalton in 1803 concerning the nature of atoms.

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Chemistry concepts

Reference
Shipman, Wilson, Todd
Sec 12.1
 
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Dalton's Atomic Theory

In 1803, John Dalton proposed the following postulates which underly modern chemistry:

  1. Elements are formed from small indivisible particles called atoms which are identical for a given element but different for any other element.
  2. Chemical compounds are formed by the combining of a definite number of atoms of each type of atom to make one molecule of the formed compound.
Confirmation of these postulated explained both the conservation of mass in chemical reactions and the law of definite proportions.

Dalton's efforts to confirm his postulates led to the law of multiple proportions: whenever two elements combine to form more than one compound, there is a ratio of small whole numbers between the various masses of one element that combine with a constant mass of the other element in the compounds.

Index

Chemistry concepts

Reference
Shipman, Wilson, Todd
Sec 12.1
 
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States of Matter

Matter in the solid state can be characterized by density, by elastic properties, by electrical and magnetic properties, by thermal properties and by composition. Part of its characterization will be the description of its habit of formation, such as its crystal structure and symmetry or the lack thereof.


Matter in the liquid state can also be characterized by density. There are other characteristic fluid properties.


In most practical cases, matter in the gaseous state can be described by the ideal gas law. The dynamic properties of gases are described by kinetic theory. Mixtures of gases can be characterized by the partial pressures of the constituents.

Solutions can be described by the concentration of the solutes, which is usually expressed in terms of the molarity of the solution.

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