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Chemistry LibreTexts

1.0: Making Measurements

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  • Most everything you do and encounter during your day involves chemistry. Making coffee, cooking eggs, and toasting bread involve chemistry. The products you use—like soap and shampoo, the fabrics you wear, the electronics that keep you connected to your world, the gasoline that propels your car—all of these and more involve chemical substances and processes. Whether you are aware or not, chemistry is part of your everyday world. In this course, you will learn many of the essential principles underlying the chemistry of modern-day life.

    Unit 1 Objectives

    By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

    • Solve dimensional analysis using metric and English units. (note: metric unit definitions will not be provided on quiz.)
    • Identify the appropriate metric unit for measuring items of various dimensions.
    • Calculate area, volume, density, and thickness and convert to various units.
    • Calculate heat in calories, kilocalories, dietary calories and Joules.
    • Record measurements and perform calculations to the correct significance with appropriate units.
    • Identify and describe common equipment used in the chemistry lab.

    • 1.0.0: Measurements
      Measurements provide quantitative information that is critical in studying and practicing chemistry. Each measurement has an amount, a unit for comparison, and an uncertainty. Measurements can be represented in either decimal or scientific notation. Scientists primarily use the SI (International System) or metric systems. We use base SI units such as meters, seconds, and kilograms, as well as derived units, such as liters (for volume) and g/cm3 (for density).
    • 1.0.1: Measurement Uncertainty, Accuracy, and Precision
      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).
    • 1.0.2: Conversions
      Measurements are made using a variety of units. It is often useful or necessary to convert a measured quantity from one unit into another. These conversions are accomplished using unit conversion factors, which are derived by simple applications of a mathematical approach called the factor-label method or dimensional analysis. This strategy is also employed to calculate sought quantities using measured quantities and appropriate mathematical relations.
    • 1.0.3: Volume, Thickness, and Density
      We can derive many units from the seven SI base units. For example, we can use the base unit of length to define a unit of volume, and the base units of mass and length to define a unit of density.  In this section, you will learn to calculate volume, density and thickness.
    • 1.0.4: Energy Basics
      Energy is the capacity to do work (applying a force to move matter). Heat is energy that is transferred between objects at different temperatures; it flows from a high to a low temperature. Chemical and physical processes can absorb heat (endothermic) or release heat (exothermic). The SI unit of energy, heat, and work is the joule (J). Specific heat and heat capacity are measures of the energy needed to change the temperature of a substance or object.
    • 1.0.5: Calorimetry Week 3 Lab
      Calorimetry is used to measure the amount of thermal energy transferred in a chemical or physical process. This requires careful measurement of the temperature change that occurs during the process and the masses of the system and surroundings. These measured quantities are then used to compute the amount of heat produced or consumed in the process using known mathematical relations. Calorimeters are designed to minimize energy exchange between the system and its surroundings.