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Chemistry LibreTexts

1: Matter

  • Page ID
    136158
    • 1.1: What is Matter?
      Matter is anything that has mass and volume (takes up space). For most common objects that we deal with every day, it is fairly simple to demonstrate that they have mass and take up space. You might be able to imagine, however, the difficulty for people several hundred years ago to demonstrate that air has mass and volume. Air (and all other gases) are invisible to the eye, have very small masses compared to equal amounts of solids and liquids, and are quite easy to compress (change volume).
    • 1.2: Classifying Matter According to Its State: Solid, Liquid, and Gas
      Three states of matter exist - solid, liquid, and gas. Solids have a definite shape and volume. Liquids have a definite volume, but take the shape of the container. Gases have no definite shape or volume
    • 1.3: Classifying Matter According to Its Composition
      One useful way of organizing our understanding of matter is to think of a hierarchy that extends down from the most general and complex to the simplest and most fundamental. Matter can be classified into two broad categories: pure substances and mixtures. A pure substance is a form of matter that has a constant composition and properties that are constant throughout the sample. A material composed of two or more substances is a mixture.
    • 1.4: Differences in Matter: Physical and Chemical Properties
      A physical property is a characteristic of a substance that can be observed or measured without changing the identity of the substance. Physical properties include color, density, hardness, and melting and boiling points. A chemical property describes the ability of a substance to undergo a specific chemical change.
    • 1.5: Changes in Matter - Physical and Chemical Changes
      Change is happening all around us all of the time. Just as chemists have classified elements and compounds, they have also classified types of changes. Changes are either classified as physical or chemical changes. Chemists learn a lot about the nature of matter by studying the changes that matter can undergo. Chemists make a distinction between two different types of changes that they study - physical changes and chemical changes.
    • 1.6: Cutting Alumimun until you get Atoms
      Take some aluminum foil. Cut it in half. Now you have two smaller pieces of aluminum foil. Cut one of the pieces in half again. Cut one of those smaller pieces in half again. Continue cutting, making smaller and smaller pieces of aluminum foil.
    • 1.7: Indivisible - The Atomic Theory
      You learned earlier how all matter in the universe is made out of tiny building blocks called atoms. All modern scientists accept the concept of the atom, but when the concept of the atom was first proposed about 2,500 years ago, ancient philosophers laughed at the idea. It has always been difficult to convince people of the existence of things that are too small to see. We will spend some time considering the evidence (observations) that convince scientists of the existence of atoms.
    • 1.8: The Nuclear Atom
      While Dalton's Atomic Theory held up well, J. J. Thomson demonstrate that his theory was not the entire story. He suggested that the small, negatively charged particles making up the cathode ray were actually pieces of atoms. He called these pieces "corpuscles," although today we know them as electrons. Thanks to his clever experiments and careful reasoning, J. J. Thomson is credited with the discovery of the electron.
    • 1.9: The Properties of Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
      Electrons are extremely small. The mass of an electron is only about 1/2000 the mass of a proton or neutron, so electrons contribute virtually nothing to the total mass of an atom. Electrons have an electric charge of −1, which is equal but opposite to the charge of a proton, which is +1. All atoms have the same number of electrons as protons, so the positive and negative charges "cancel out", making atoms electrically neutral.
    • 1.10: Elements: Defined by Their Number of Protons
      Scientists distinguish between different elements by counting the number of protons in the nucleus. Since an atom of one element can be distinguished from an atom of another element by the number of protons in its nucleus, scientists are always interested in this number, and how this number differs between different elements. The number of protons in an atom is called its atomic number (Z). This number is very important because it is unique for atoms of a given element.
    • 1.11: Looking for Patterns: The Periodic Table
      Certain elemental properties become apparent in a survey of the periodic table as a whole. Every element can be classified as either a metal, a nonmetal, or a metalloid (or semi metal). A metal is a substance that is shiny, typically (but not always) silvery in color, and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat. Metals are also malleable (they can be beaten into thin sheets) and ductile (they can be drawn into thin wires).
    • 1.12: Ions - Losing and Gaining Electrons
      Atom may lose valence electrons quite to obtain a lower shell that contains an octet. Atoms that lose electrons acquire a positive charge as a result because they are left with fewer negatively charged electrons to balance the positive charges of the protons in the nucleus. Positively charged ions are called cations. Most metals become cations when they make ionic compounds.
    • 1.13: Compounds Display Constant Composition
      A compound is a substance that contains two or more elements chemically combined in a fixed proportion. The elements carbon and hydrogen combine to form many different compounds. One of the simplest is called methane, in which there are always four times as many hydrogen particles as carbon particles. Methane is a pure substance because it always has the same composition. However, it is not an element because it can be broken down into simpler substances - carbon and hydrogen.
    • 1.14: Chemical Formulas: How to Represent Compounds
      A chemical formula is an expression that shows the elements in a compound and the relative proportions of those elements. A molecular formula is a chemical formula of a molecular compound that shows the kinds and numbers of atoms present in a molecule of the compound. An empirical formula is a formula that shows the elements in a compound in their lowest whole-number ratio.
    • 1.15: Naming Molecular Compounds
      Molecular compounds are inorganic compounds that take the form of discrete molecules. Examples include such familiar substances as water and carbon dioxide. These compounds are very different from ionic compounds like sodium chloride. Ionic compounds are formed when metal atoms lose one or more of their electrons to nonmetal atoms. The resulting cations and anions are electrostatically attracted to each other.
    • 1.16: Structure and Composition of the Atmosphere
      The atmosphere acts as a compressible fluid tied to the earth by gravitation; as a receptor of solar energy and a thermal reservoir, it constitutes the working fluid of a heat engine that transports and redistributes matter and energy over the entire globe. The atmosphere is also a major temporary repository of a number of chemical elements that move in a cyclic manner between the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and the upper lithosphere.
    • 1.17: Conservation of Mass - There is No New Matter
      The law of conservation of mass states that matter can not be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction. So the mass of the product equals the mass of the reactant. A reactant is when two or more elements chemically interact to make a new substance and a product is the substance that is formed as the result of a chemical reaction. Mass and matter may not be able to be created or destroyed, but it can change forms to other substances like liquids, gasses, solids, etc.
    • 1.18: Evidence of a Chemical Reaction
      In a chemical change, new substances are formed. In order for this to occur, the chemical bonds of the substances break, and the atoms that compose them separate and rearrange themselves into new substances with new chemical bonds. When this process occurs, we call it a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction is the process in which one or more substances are changed into one or more new substances.
    • 1.19: Chemical Equations
      A chemical reaction is the process in which one or more substances are changed into one or more new substances. Chemical reactions are represented by chemical equations. Chemical equations have reactants on the left, an arrow that is read as "yields", and the products on the right.
    • 1.20: How to Write Balanced Chemical Equations
      In chemical reactions, atoms are never created or destroyed. The same atoms that were present in the reactants are present in the products - they are merely reorganized into different arrangements. In a complete chemical equation, the two sides of the equation must be present on the reactant and the product sides of the equation.