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Chemistry LibreTexts

2: Matter, Measurement, and Problem Solving

  • Page ID
    • 2.1: The Metric Mix-up - A $327 Million Unit Error
      Small errors in these unit systems can sometimes harbor massive ramifications. Although NASA declared the metric system as its official unit system in the 1980s, conversion factors remain an issue. The Mars Climate Orbiter, meant to help relay information back to Earth, is one notable example of the unit system struggle.
    • 2.2: The Reliability of a Measurement
      Quantities can be exact or measured. Measured quantities have an associated uncertainty that is represented by the number of significant figures in the measurement. The uncertainty of a calculated value depends on the uncertainties in the values used in the calculation and is reflected in how the value is rounded. Measured values can be accurate (close to the true value) and/or precise (showing little variation when measured repeatedly).
    • 2.3: Density
      Density ( ρ ) is a physical property found by dividing the mass of an object by its volume. Regardless of the sample size, density is always constant. For example, the density of a pure sample of tungsten is always 19.25 grams per cubic centimeter. This means that whether you have one gram or one kilogram of the sample, the density will never vary.
    • 2.4: Energy and Its Units
      Because energy takes many forms, only some of which can be seen or felt, it is defined by its effect on matter. For example, microwave ovens produce energy to cook food, but we cannot see that energy. In contrast, we can see the energy produced by a light bulb when we switch on a lamp. In this section, we describe the forms of energy and discuss the relationship between energy, heat, and work.
    • 2.5: Converting between Units
    • 2.6: Problem-Solving Strategies
    • 2.7: Solving Problems Involving Equations
      Many problems in chemistry involve manipulating equations and require the use of multiple conversion steps. Such problems easy to solve as numerical problems once you understand how to approach them. The four simple steps in problem solving are READ-PLAN-SOLVE-CHECK approach.
    • 2.8: Atoms and the Mole - How Many Particles?