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Chemistry LibreTexts

Chapter 10.0: Introduction

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    19907
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    Prince George's Community College
    General Chemistry for Engineering
    CHM 2000

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    Unit I: Atoms      Unit II: Molecules     Unit III: States of Matter     Unit IV: Reactions     Unit V: Kinetics & Equilibrium
    Unit VI: Thermo & Electrochemistry
         Unit VII: Nuclear Chemistry

    Chapter 1 introduced some of the fundamental concepts of chemistry, with particular attention to the basic properties of atoms and elements. These entities are the building blocks of all substances we encounter, yet most common substances do not consist of only pure elements or individual atoms. Instead, nearly all substances are chemical compounds or mixtures of chemical compounds. Although there are only about 115 elements (of which about 86 occur naturally), millions of chemical compounds are known, with a tremendous range of physical and chemical properties. Consequently, the emphasis of modern chemistry (and this text) is on understanding the relationship between the structures and properties of chemical compounds.

    Antoine Lavoisier expressed the need for a systematic chemical nomenclature in the Preface to his Elements of Chemistry

    The impossibility of separating the nomenclature of a science from the science itself, is owing to this, that every branch of physical science must consist of three things; the series of facts which are the objects of the science, the ideas which represent these facts, and the words by which these ideas are expressed. Like three impressions of the same seal, the word ought to produce the idea, and the idea to be a picture of the fact. And, as ideas are preserved and communicated by means of words, it necessarily follows that we cannot improve the language of any science without at the same time improving the science itself; neither can we, on the other hand, improve a science, without improving the language or nomenclature which belongs to it. However certain the facts of any science may be, and, however just the ideas we may have formed of these facts, we can only communicate false impressions to others, while we want words by which these may be properly expressed

    In this chapter, you will learn how to describe the composition of chemical compounds. We introduce you to chemical nomenclature—the language of chemistry—that will enable you to recognize and name the most common kinds of compounds. An understanding of chemical nomenclature not only is essential for your study of chemistry but also has other benefits—for example, it helps you understand the labels on products found in the supermarket and the pharmacy. You will also be better equipped to understand many of the important environmental and medical issues that face society. By the end of this chapter, you will be able to describe what happens chemically when a doctor prepares a cast to stabilize a broken bone, and you will know the composition of common substances such as laundry bleach, the active ingredient in baking powder, and the foul-smelling compound responsible for the odor of spoiled fish. Finally, you will be able to explain the chemical differences among different grades of gasoline.

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    • Modified by Joshua Halpern, Scott Sinex and Scott Johnson

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