2: The Mathematics of Chemistry

• • Contributed by Elizabeth Gordon
• Lecturer (Chemistry) at Furman University

Mathematics is used widely in chemistry and are absolutely necessary to explore important concepts in chemistry. Without some basic mathematics skills, these calculations, and therefore chemistry itself, will be extremely difficult. However, with a basic knowledge of some of the mathematics that will be used in your chemistry course, you will be well prepared to deal with the concepts and theories of chemistry.

• 2.1: Measuring Matter
Scientists use all kinds of equipment to measure matter.  Balances are used to measure mass while pipettes are used to measure volume. Errors in measurements can be made if the scientist does not know how to properly use the equipment or if the equipment is damaged. It is important that you know the types of equipment a scientists uses and the basic units that are found on the equipment. In addition, memorize and be able to apply the necessary conversion factors for this course.
• 2.2: Dimensional Analysis
Units can be converted to other units using the proper conversion factors. Conversion factors are constructed from equalities that relate two different units. Conversions can be a single step or multistep. Unit conversion is a powerful mathematical technique in chemistry that must be mastered.
• 2.3: Density
Density is a physical property that is defined as a substance’s mass divided by its volume. Density is usually a measured property of a substance, so its numerical value affects the significant figures in a calculation. Notice that density is defined in terms of two dissimilar units, mass and volume. That means that density overall has derived units, just like velocity.
• 2.4: Temperature
One of the fundamental quantities in science is temperature. Temperature is a measure of the average amount of energy of motion, or kinetic energy, a system contains. Temperatures are expressed using scales that use units called degrees, and there are several temperature scales in use. In the United States, the commonly used temperature scale is the Fahrenheit scale (symbolized by °F and spoken as “degrees Fahrenheit”).
• 2.E: The Mathematics of Chemistry (Exercises)
These are homework exercises to accompany Chapter 2 of the Furman University's LibreText for CHE 101 - Chemistry and Global Awareness.