Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
1.1: Matter URL Extensive and Intensive Properties

Read the "Extensive and Intensive Properties" section. Remember that extensive properties, such as volume and mass, rely on the "extent" to which matter is present. Intensive properties, such as density and viscosity, are independent of the quantity of matter and are inherent to the matter.

URL Physical and Chemical Properties

Read the "Physical and Chemical Properties" section. Because the two properties of matter are closely related, the distinction between physical and chemical properties can be difficult to discern. For our purposes, we will define a physical property as one that can be observed without changing the matter's composition.

URL Solids, Liquids, and Gases

Read the "Solids, Liquids, and Gases" section. Note the differences between these three phases of matter on both the microscopic and macroscopic levels. Solids, like wooden blocks, have definite shape and definite volume, and the particles are ordered and close together. Liquids have definite volume and indefinite shape, meaning they take on the shape of the container. Imagine the differences between iced tea in a pitcher versus in a glass. A liquid's particles are less ordered, but still relatively close together. Gases, such as the air inside balloons, have indefinite shape and indefinite volume and their particles are highly disordered. 

URL Density and Its Uses

Read the first two sections: "So What Is Density?" and "Densities of Common Substances". Density is temperature-dependent, and the units differ for solids (g/cm3), liquids (g/mL), and gases (g/L).

URL Virtual Lab: Identifying an Unknown Metal

In this activity, you will use the virtual lab to identify an unknown metal by measuring its density and comparing your measurements to the densities of known metals. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Metals Density Problem") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Virtual Lab: Identifying an Unknown Liquid from its Density

In this activity you will use the virtual lab to design an experiment to determine the identity of mislabeled bottles using the densities of the solutions inside. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Liquid Density Problem") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Energy, Heat, and Temperature

Read this page. Notice the distinctions made between heat and temperature. While both deal with kinetic energy, the energy of motion, "heat" refers to thermal energy transfer, while "temperature" is a measure of the kinetic energy of a system. Potential energy, the energy of position, in chemistry usually refers to the energy stored in chemical bonds. This material will be discussed in more detail in Unit 6. 

URL Classification and Properties of Matter

Read the "How do We Classify Matter?" section. All matter can be classified as either a pure substance or a mixture. Furthermore, for a pure substance, a subcategory of either single-element or compound can be applied. Mixtures are further categorized as either homogeneous (single-phase) or heterogeneous (multiple phases). The distinction between homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures presented here is dependent on phase, or physical, boundaries. This section also contains material relevant to the next section of the course.

URL Chemical Composition

Read the "Chemical Composition" section. Keep in mind that mixtures, whether homogeneous or heterogeneous, can be separated by physical means into pure substances. Techniques of separation were discussed in the previous section. Pure substances comprise elements and compounds.

URL Chemical Change

Read the "Chemical Change", "Energetics of Chemical Change", and "Dynamics of Chemical Change" sections. The energetics of chemical change will be discussed more thoroughly in Unit 6. To determine if you are dealing with a physical or chemical change, ask yourself if you can reverse the process to recover the original material. For example, ice melting is a physical change because you can re-freeze the water; however, cooking a steak is a chemical change because you cannot recover the raw meat.

1.2: Measurement and Notation URL Units of Measure

Read the "Units of Measure" section. Remember that every measurement has a numerical value associated with a unit!

URL The SI (Metric) System

Read "The SI Base Units" and "The SI Decimal Prefixes" sections. Note that the base unit for mass (kg) is the only "base" unit with a prefix. This arises from the fact that the "gram" is so small (i.e., a nickel weighs approximately 5 grams) that "real world" objects cannot feasibly be measured in grams. Can you imagine how many grams a table would weigh? Also, with the exception of seconds, the SI system (System International) is a base-10 system, allowing easier conversion between units.

URL Uncertainty

Read the "Uncertainty Is Certain!" section. Be aware that every measured value contains some uncertainty in the last digit. For example, if you are using a ruler to measure length, it is necessary to interpolate between gradations given on the ruler. This gives the uncertain digit in the measured length. While there may not be much deviation, what you estimate to be the last digit may not be the same as someone else's estimation.

URL Scatter and Error in Measured Values

Read the "Scatter and Error in Measured Values" section. While error is inherent to measurement, some errors are easier to detect and/or eliminate. 

URL Accuracy and Precision

Read the "Accuracy and Precision" section. Imagine accuracy as hitting the bullseye on a dartboard every time, while precision corresponds to hitting the "triple 20" consistently. As another example, consider an analytical balance with a calibration error such that it reads 0.24 grams too high. Then, even though measuring identical mass readings of a single sample would mean excellent precision, the accuracy of the measurement would be poor.

URL Significant Figures and Rounding Off

Read this webpage. The concept of significant figures, commonly referred to as "sig figs", is important when solving scientific math problems and should be carefully observed! The rules for significant figure rounding of addition and subtraction calculations are the same, but different than those for multiplication and division.

2.1: Atoms and Elements URL The Elements

Read the "Elements" section. Elements get their names from many sources. The "new" elements are purely synthetic and are usually named by the scientist who develops them. What would you name an element?

URL Atoms

Read the "Atoms Become Real" section. Familiarize yourself with the laws of conservation of mass, constant composition, and multiple proportion. These concepts play a key role in Dalton's atomic theory. Also look at the section on relative masses of atoms, which arose from Dalton's theory.

URL The Nuclear Atom

Read "The Nuclear Atom" section on subatomic particles. The section also covers isotopes and isotopic notation - the concept that a given element type can possess different numbers of neutrons. These concepts were not part of Dalton's atomic theory. Can you identify why?

Page Elements and Atoms

Watch these lectures to reinforce the concepts we just discussed. 

URL Atomic Masses

Read the "Atomic Masses" section, which introduces the concept of unified atomic masses.

2.2: Avogadro's Number and Moles URL Avogadro's Number and the Mole

Read this page. This material covers moles and molar masses, which will be a recurring theme in later units. Keep in mind that the "mole" is nothing more than a number. Just as a dozen always equals 12 and a gross is always 144, a mole always equals 6.022 × 1023.

Page The Mole and Avogadro's Number

Watch this lecture to reinforce the concepts of the mole and Avogadro's number.

2.3: Atomic Theories URL Quanta: A New View of the World

Read this page, which explains how classical physics was modified, leading to the development of quantum theory. The term quantum refers to the observation that energy is a system that can only exist in discrete, or distinct, levels.

URL Light, Particles, and Waves

Read this page, which describes why light can be classified as both a wave and a particle.

URL The Bohr Atom

Read this page. The Bohr model of the atom introduces orbitals and explains the observation of atomic line spectra. Orbitals are regions of space where electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom can reside. Atomic line spectra is electromagnetic radiation, or light energy, associated with electron redistribution among pairs of orbitals.

URL The Quantum Atom

Read this page, which describes the quantum model of the atom. This model differs slightly from the Bohr model in how it explains electron behavior. Do not get them confused! Many of the fundamental concepts of modern physics grew out of these models, so much of the material may be reminiscent of a physics course.

Page Orbitals

Watch this lecture to reinforce your understanding of models of the atom.

2.4: The Periodic Table of the Elements Page Orbitals and Electron Configuration

Watch these videos to learn more about the periodic table and how electron orbitals are modeled.

URL Atomic Electron Configurations

Read this page, which covers electron configurations and the arrangement of the periodic table. An electronic configuration is a listing of the occupancy of an atom's electrons amongst its orbitals. The periodic table was purposefully designed to reflect the chemical nature of each element. Metals, for example, are on the left-hand side, while noble gases are on the right. Halogens are always to the immediate left of the noble gases. By the end of this section, you should be able to identify these and other groups on a periodic table. Remember that a group is a vertical column, while a period is a horizontal row.

URL Periodic Properties of the Elements

Read this page, which reinforces what you just learned about the arrangement of the periodic table. It also discusses the general trends exhibited, including atomic size, ionization energy, electron affinity, and electronegativity.

Page The Periodic Table

Groups on the periodic table are important because elements within a particular group, in general, have similar chemical properties and reactivity. Ionization refers to the process of removing an electron from an atom. Ionization energy pertains to the energy supplied to facilitate this process. Watch these three lectures to reinforce the concepts covered in the reading assignment.

3.1: Chemical Bonds URL Introduction to Chemical Bonding

Read this page. Pay close attention to how bond length and bond energies are related.

URL Models of Chemical Bonding

Read this page. Keep in mind that these are only models used to depict bonding and may not explain the behavior of every bond.

URL The Shared-Electron Covalent Bond

Read this page. A covalent bond in a molecule, the most commonly occurring type, happens when each atom undergoing bonding contributes one electron to a shared electron pair. This page also introduces resonance structures. Resonance occurs when more than one correct Lewis structure can be drawn.

URL Polar Covalence

Read this page, which utilizes the concept of electronegativity. Do you remember the trend? Keep in mind that these bonding categories are models and are used to approximate behavior.

Page Ionic, Covalent, and Metallic Bonds, and Covalent Networks, Metallic, and Ionic Crystals

Watch these lectures to reinforce the concepts covered in the reading assignment. An ionic bond occurs when one atom contributes two electrons to an electron pair and another atom contributes none. Metallic bonding occurs when many electrons occupy a large region of space and their atoms are cationic sites to balance overall charge.

URL Interactions Between Molecular Units

Read this page, which takes a look beyond the solid-liquid-gaseous states of matter to explore why these states exist. This tutorial also explains important molecular interactions other than bonding.

Page Van Der Waals Forces

Watch this lecture to reinforce your understanding of Van der Waals forces.

URL Water and Hydrogen Bonding

Read this page, which describes the significance of hydrogen bonding, one of the most important intermolecular forces. Without hydrogen bonding, DNA wouldn't exist as a double helix!

3.2: Molecular Structure URL Molecular Geometry

Read this page. Can you explain why carbon dioxide is a linear molecule, while water is bent? Lone pairs of electrons from the Lewis structures become very important here.

URL The Hybrid Orbital Model, Part 1

Read this page, which introduces hybrid orbital theory and explains why atomic orbitals do not explain bonding. Molecules examined here contain single bonds and lone pairs.

URL The Hybrid Orbital Model, Part 2

Read this page, which is a continuation of hybrid orbital theory, examining multiple bonds, resonance, and d orbitals.

4.1: Chemical Formulas Page Empirical and Molecular Formulas

Watch these videos for an introduction to molecular formulas.

URL Chemical Formulas and Their Arithmetic

Read this page, which explains what information chemical formulas reveal and how to derive chemical equations from experimental data. This is one of the most math-intensive units in general chemistry, but it is not as tricky as it may seem at first. Follow the method.

URL Introduction to Chemical Nomenclature

Read this page. "Nomenclature" is a fancy word for the process of naming compounds. The more you practice systematically naming compounds, the easier it will become. Here, primarily inorganic substance nomenclature is covered. While organic nomenclature is introduced here, it will be covered in more detail in organic chemistry.

4.2: Stoichiometry and Limiting Reagents Page Stoichiometry and Limiting Reagents

Watch these videos, which introduce stoichiometry. Stoichiometric coefficients are numbers of chemical compounds necessary to mass balance a chemical reaction.

URL Chemical Equations and Calculations

Read this page, which explains what information is given in a balanced chemical equation. Although balancing may seem easy, it can become quite difficult when there are multiple reactants and/or products. As a general rule, begin balancing the chemical equation with a unique atom, or one that is only found in one reactant and one product. Balance hydrogen and oxygen last; they usually present the biggest challenge. You must learn to properly balance equations, as you will need this skill in every chemistry course you take.

URL Virtual Lab: Limiting Reagents 1

In this virtual lab, you will use limiting reagents to solve problems. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Limiting Reagents Problems 1") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Virtual Lab: Limiting Reagents 2

In this virtual lab, you will use limiting reagents to determine the concentration of an unknown solution. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Limiting Reagent Problem 2") on the virtual lab screen.

5.1: Gases and Gas Laws URL Observable Properties of Gases

Read this page. Understanding how pressure, temperature, and volume of a gas differ from those of forces that exist within solids and liquids will be fundamental for understanding the upcoming subunits of this course.

Page Ideal Gas Laws

Watch these lectures, which introduce ideal gases.

URL The Basic Gas Laws

Read this page. Ideal gas laws are laws that apply to gases that behave "ideally", which is when molecules take up no volume and have no attractive forces between one another. In the real world, however, no gas behaves ideally. However, gases are closest to being ideal when they are high-temperature and low-pressure.

Page Partial Pressure

Watch this lecture, which discusses partial pressure. A key concept here is that a mixture has a total pressure that is the sum of its component, or partial, pressures.

URL Moles, Mixtures, and Densities

Read this page, which covers molar properties of gases and partial pressures. After reading this section, you should understand what happens to scuba divers who suffer from nitrogen narcosis, or "the bends".

URL Introduction to Kinetic-Molecular Theory

Read this page. Kinetic molecular theory (KMT) explains the properties of gas molecules and their motion. KMT helps explain how radio waves are transmitted and why the sky is blue.

5.2: Phase Changes URL Liquids and Their Interfaces

Read this page, which takes a more in-depth look at the properties of liquids, which were introduced previously. Have you ever wondered why all soap bubbles are round? The concepts discussed here will explain.

Page Liquid Phase Properties

Watch these videos, which explain how to calculate the amount of energy associated with both temperature changes and phase changes of a particular substance.

URL Introduction to Crystals

Read this page, and focus on the section about the unit cell. Some terms related to symmetry and spectroscopy are introduced here but not covered in detail. More advanced chemistry courses would go into these concepts further.

URL Ionic and Ion-Derived Solids

Read this page, which covers the class of solids that form from ions and the energetics of these compounds.

URL Cubic Crystal Lattices and Close-Packing

Read this page, which builds on the concept of the unit cell and describes the packing structures of simple cubic lattices.

URL Changes of State
Read this page, which describes the dynamic equilibrium between phases and introduces phase diagrams. There are six different processes by which phases can change from one to another. Some will be familiar to you, such as evaporation or freezing; others might be less familiar, like sublimation and deposition.
Page Phase Diagrams

Watch these videos to reinforce your understanding of phase diagrams. Although we deal with the three primary states of matter (gases, solids, and liquids) every day, we are often not familiar with their microscopic interactions.

6.1: Energy URL Energy, Heat, and Work

Read this page. Pay close attention to how the system and surroundings are defined; this will determine the direction of energy flow in thermodynamic systems.

URL Molecules as Energy Carriers and Converters

Read this page. Make sure you can follow the concept map at the bottom of the page, which relates potential and kinetic chemical energy to the enthalpy of a system.

Page Enthalpy and Heat of Formation

Watch these videos. The enthalpy of a system is the energy contained in its chemical bonds plus any pressure-volume work the system can do.

URL Virtual Lab: Camping Problem 1

In this virtual lab, you will measure the enthalpy of a reaction. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Camping 1") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Virtual Lab: Camping Problem 2

In this virtual lab, you will determine change in the enthalpy of a reaction as the concentration of reactants are varied. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Camping 2") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Thermochemistry and Calorimetry

Read this page. Calorimetry is used to measure the change in enthalpy of reactions in a laboratory setting. Since enthalpy is a state function, Hess' law is applied to calculate the change in enthalpy from literature values.

Page Hess' Law and Reaction Enthalpy Change

Watch these videos to reinforce your understanding of Hess' Law.

URL Heats of Reaction and Hess' Law

This virtual lab will demonstrate Hess' Law using three reactions: the solubility of NaOH in water, the solubility of NaOH in HCl, and the reaction of a solution of HCl and a solution of NaOH. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Heats of Reaction") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Some Applications of Enthalpy and the First Law

Read this page. Using bond energy to calculate the enthalpy of reaction is not particularly accurate because energies are affected by each molecule's unique surroundings, such as intermolecular forces. For this reason, energies are only an average across many different reactions.

6.2: Thermodynamics URL The First Law of Thermodynamics

Read this page. The first law of thermodynamics is sometimes referred to as the law of conservation of energy. It states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it may change form. For example, imagine a campfire: the energy is stored in chemical bonds in the wood and is released as light and heat.

Page The First Law of Thermodynamics and Internal Energy

Watch this lecture, which covers exothermic and endothermic reactions.

URL The Availability of Energy

Read this page. The second law of thermodynamics deals with heat transfer and explains why a perpetual motion machine can never exist.

URL What is Entropy?

Read this page, which gives a detailed description of entropy and how it relates to the system and surroundings. The third law of thermodynamics deals with a theoretical absolute zero state, which is a physical impossibility.

URL Gibbs Free Energy

Read this page. The Gibbs free energy equation predicts whether a reaction will happen spontaneously or not. Gibbs free energy applies to reactions of every magnitude, from water freezing to industrial chemical processes. It is important to note that while a reaction may be predicted to be spontaneous, its reaction rate may be very slow.

Page Gibbs Free Energy and Spontaneity

Watch these videos. If the computed change in Gibbs free energy is negative for a chemical reaction, then the reaction is spontaneous.

7.1: Acids and Bases URL What are Acids and Bases?

Read this page, which introduces the concepts of acids, bases, salts, and neutralization reactions. The Arrhenius theory views acids and bases as substances that produce hydrogen ions or hydroxide ions on dissociation.

Page Arrhenius' Definition of Acids and Bases

Watch this video, which explains Arrhenius' definition of acids and bases. Arrhenius acids increase the concentration of hydrogen ions in aqueous solutions, while Arrhenius bases increase the concentration of hydroxide ions.

URL Virtual Lab: Strong Acids and Bases

In this virtual lab, you will solve problems related to strong acids and bases. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Strong Acid Textbook Problems") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Virtual Lab: Weak Acids and Bases

In this virtual lab, you will solve problems related to weak acids and bases. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Weak Acid Textbook Problems") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Aqueous Solutions, pH, and Titration

Read this page, which introduces the pH scale and explains how titration is done. We can titrate an acid with a base or a base with an acid. The substance whose concentration we are determining is called the analyte. The substance we are adding in measured amounts is called the titrant.

Page More on pH, Titration, Acids, and Bases

Watch these videos. The first explains pH and the pH scale and explains how to conduct pH calculations. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A solution with a pH of 7 is neutral. If the pH is less than 7, the solution is acidic. If the pH is greater than 7, the solution is basic. Since the pH scale is logarithmic, each whole pH value below 7 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value.

The second covers common strong acids and strong bases and presents examples of pH calculations. Do not forget that strong acids and strong bases nearly completely dissociate in ions in aqueous solutions.

The third explains how titration is conducted and presents an example of titrating strong acid with a strong base. It covers indicators, endpoint, equivalence point, and calculating the unknown concentration. Note that the endpoint of titration is defined as the moment when enough titrant has been added to the titrand to facilitate a color change. The equivalence point is defined as the moment when the amount of titrant added is enough to completely neutralize the analyte solution.

URL Virtual Lab: Acid-Base Titration

In this virtual lab, you will standardize an unknown NaOH solution four significant figures via titration with 25.00 mL of a standard solution of KHP. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Standardization of NaOH") on the virtual lab screen.

URL Proton Donors and Acceptors

Read this page, which presents auto-ionization of water molecules, explains Brønsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases, and introduces the formation of conjugate acid-base pairs. Note that Brønsted-Lowry theory expands categories by defining acids are proton donors and bases are proton acceptors.

Page Brønsted-Lowry, Autoionization, and Conjugate Acids and Bases

Watch these videos. The first explains the Brønsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases. The second explains how auto-ionization of water molecules happens. Water is an amphiprotic compound: it can act as either an acid or a base. Hydrogen ions do not exist in water on their own but immediately get grabbed by water molecules to form hydronium ions. The third explains the relationship between conjugate acids and bases. A conjugate pair is always one acid and one base.

URL Acid-Base Reactions

Read this page, which covers different kinds of neutralization reactions. Make sure you can sketch proton-energy diagrams for a strong acid, a weak acid or base, and a strong base.

Page Acid-Base Properties of Salts

Watch this video, which covers different kinds of neutralization reactions. We use the term "neutralization" to define these reactions because the acid and base properties of hydrogen and hydroxide ions are destroyed or neutralized. Hydrogen and hydroxide ions combine to form water molecules.

7.2: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions URL Redox Reactions

Read this page, which presents oxidation-reduction reactions and explains how oxidation-reduction reaction can be written in the form of half-reactions. Note that oxidation is the loss of electrons, while reduction is the gain of electrons. A species that donates electrons in a redox reaction is called a reducing agent, or reductant. A species that accepts electrons in a redox reaction is called an oxidizing agent, or oxidant.

URL Oxidation Numbers and Redox Reactions

Read this page, which explains how oxidation states are determined and how they change due to electron transfer in the oxidation-reduction reactions. Make sure you understand the rules. You might also want to memorize the list of elements that almost always have the same oxidation states in their compounds, as well as the exceptions to those rules.

URL Balancing Redox Equations

Read this page, which explains how to balance equations of oxidation-reduction reactions. Different steps should be used depending on whether the solution is acidic or basic.

Page Oxidation, Reduction, and Redox Reactions

Watch these videos. The first introduces oxidation states, oxidation, and reduction. It also provides some tips for remembering oxidation and reduction. The second explains how to write the half-reactions in a combustion reaction. Combustion is a reaction between hydrocarbon and oxygen that produces carbon dioxide and water. Focus on what is being oxidized and what is being reduced during combustion.

URL Common Oxidizing Agents

Read this page, which introduces common oxidizing agents. All of them share one property: the ability to accept electrons readily. 

URL Common Reducing Agents

Read this page, which introduces common reducing agents. All of them share one property: the ability to donate electrons readily.

URL Substances that are Both Oxidizing and Reducing Agents

Read this page, which introduces substances that can act both as oxidizing and reducing agents. One of these substances (water) is essential for your life. Another substance (hydrogen peroxide) is also commonly found in household products.

Page Oxidizing and Reducing Agents

Watch this video, which explains how to identify the oxidizing and reducing agents in an oxidation-reduction reaction. The substance being oxidized is a reducing agent; the substance being reduced is an oxidizing agent.

URL Virtual Lab: Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

In this virtual lab, you will design an experiment to determine which metals are the strongest and weakest reducing agents. To see the instructions, click the name of the problem ("Redox") on the virtual lab screen.

8.1: Types of Nuclear Decay URL Radioactive Decay

Read this page, which introduces the concept of radioactivity and radioactive decay. This chapter also reintroduces the concept of isotopes, which are different types of atoms (nuclides) of the same chemical element. Each has a different atomic mass (mass number) but the same atomic number.

URL Alpha Decay

Read this page, which introduces alpha decay and provides an example of an alpha-decay equation. The two main characteristics of alpha-decay are 1) the sum of the mass numbers on the left and right of the equation are the same, and 2) the sum of the atomic number on the left and right are the same.

URL Beta Decay

Read this page, which introduces beta decay and provides an example of a beta-decay equation. There is no change in the mass number in beta decay, but the atomic number increases by one.

URL Radioactive Decay Series

Read this page, which introduces the concept of radioactive decay series. You do not need to memorize this particular chain; just note how the transition from one isotope to another occurs through alpha or beta decay.

Page Nuclear Decay

Watch these videos, which present four different types of nuclear decay. In addition to alpha and beta decay, gamma and positron emission can occur. The positron is a particularly interesting particle. It is an example of anti-matter, as it is an anti-electron. In the case of positron decay, there is no change in mass number, but the atomic number decreases by one. The second video explains how to write nuclear equations for alpha, beta, and gamma decay.

8.2: The Half-Life of Radioactive Isotopes URL Half-Life

Read this page, which introduces the concept of a half-life for a radioactive isotope. The half-life is the time it takes half of the atoms in a current sample to decay. The sample size doesn't matter: whether you have one gram or one ton of isotope, half of the sample will decay during the first half-life. The sample will continue to shrink by half during each successive half-life. 

URL Carbon Dating
Read this page, which explains how carbon dating is used to determine the age of an object. Since the half-life for C-14 is approximately 5700 years, carbon dating is useful only for fossils up to about 50,000 years old. For older fossils, isotopes with longer half-lives are used.
Page Half-Life and Carbon Dating

Watch this video, which explains half-life in the context of radioactive decay.

8.3: Nuclear Fusion, Nuclear Fission, and Energy Production URL Transmutation of the Elements

Read this page, which discusses the processes of transmutation. Transmutation is the conversion of one element to another. Transmutation of stable isotopes can be achieved by bombarding the nucleus with neutrons. Historically, transmutation has been used to synthesize new elements. 

URL The Mass Defect

Read this page, which introduces the concept of mass defect. Mass defect is the difference in the observed atomic mass of an atom and the sum of the masses of the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the atom. It also explains why 1 gram of uranium-235 undergoing decay can provide enough energy to light a typical light bulb for approximately 28,000 years!

URL Nuclear Fission

Read this page, which presents the process of nuclear fission. The critical mass is the smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction.

URL Nuclear Energy

Read this page, which explains how nuclear decay is used to produce electricity and presents real and imagined dangers of atomic energy. A coal power plant releases 100 times as much radiation as a nuclear power plant of the same wattage. The major concern with nuclear plants is high-level radioactive waste that should be safely stored for more than 10,000 years.

URL Nuclear Fusion

Read this page, which presents the process of nuclear fusion. This is the process that powers stars, including our sun. Scientists have been attempting to develop controlled fusion; if this goal can be achieved, it will provide the world with almost limitless clean energy. 

URL How Does a Nuclear Reactor Work?

Read this page, which explains how a nuclear reactor works. It also covers the different parts of the nuclear reactor (the core, coolant, turbine, containment, and cooling towers) and their functions.

Study Guide Book CHEM101 Study Guide
Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey
Archived Materials Page Formula Sheet

This is the formula sheet that may be used while taking the CHEM101 final exam.