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Basic Concepts of Chemistry


a tentative explanation or prediction based on experimental observations


numerical data; i.e., temperature


non-numerical observations; i.e. color or physical appearance


a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a behavior or a relation that seems always to be the same under the same conditions


a well-tested, unifying principle that explains a body of facts and the laws based on them

green chemistry

a way of doing chemistry with lower pollutant levels


solid, liquid, gas

kinetic-molecular theory of matter

helps interpret properties; all matter consists of extremely tiny particles (atoms, molecules, or ions) that are in constant motion increase in temp. = increase in motion


experiments and observations (i.e., what color, dissolves in water, conducts electricity, react with oxygen?)


particulate; studying individual particles


a mixture in which the properties in one region or sample are different from those in another region or sample


a mixture in which the properties are the same throughout a region or sample; often called "solutions"


when a mixture is separated into its pure components


composed only of one type of atom (i.e. hydrogen, oxygen, etc...)


smallest particle of an element that retains the characteristic chemical properties of that element

chemical bonds

an interaction between two or more atoms that holds them together by reducing the potential energy of their electrons

chemical compound

a pure substance composed 2 or more different elements held together by chemical bonds


electrically charged atoms or groups of atoms


the smallest discrete units that retain the composition and chemical characteristics of the compound

chemical formula

represents the composition of a compound (i.e. H2O, NaCl, etc..)

physical properties

properties that can be observed and measured without changing the composition of a substance


the ratio of the mass of an object to its volume


a physical property that determines the direction of heat flow in an object on contact with another object; affects the numerical values of an objects properties such as density


what mass of substance can dissolve in a given volume of water or other solvent?


the ability of a solid to deformed


the ability of a substance to be drawn into a wire


how easily will a liquid flow?

extensive properties

depend upon the amount of a substance present (i.e. mass and volume)

intensive properties

do not depend on the amount of a substance present (i.e. melting point)

physical changes

changes in physical properties where the identity of the substance is preserved but the physical state, gross size, or shape may have changed

chemical change

one or more substances are transformed into one or more different substances

chemical equation

the representation of a change using chemical formulas


a starting substance in a chemical reaction


a substance formed in a chemical reaction

chemical property

indicates whether and sometimes how readily a material undergoes a chemical change with another material

kinetic energy

energy associated with motion

thermal energy

the motion of atoms, molecules, or ions at the submicroscopic (particulate) level

mechanical energy

the motion or macroscopic objects such as moving a tennis ball or a car

electrical energy

the movement of electrons in a conductor

acoustic energy

the compression and expansion of the spaces between molecules in the transmission of sound

potential energy

the energy that results from an objects position

gravitational energy

i.e. energy possessed by a ball held above a floor and by water at the top of a water wheel

chemical energy

energy stored in fuels


almost all chemical reactions involve a change in chemical energy

electrostatic energy

energy associated with the separation of two electrical charges

law of conservation of energy

energy can neither be created nor destroyed; the total energy of the universe is constant

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