• Course Introduction

        • Time: 83 hours
        • Free Certificate
        General Chemistry I will introduce you to the world of chemistry! The ancient Egyptians first identified, studied, and applied the principles of chemistry to extract metal from ores, make alcoholic beverages, glaze pottery, turn fat into soap, and much more. What began as a quest to build better weapons and create potions capable of ensuring everlasting life became the foundation of modern science.

        Take a look around you: chemistry is the science that describes everything you touch, see, and feel: from the shampoo you used this morning, to the plastic container that holds your lunch! In this course, we will study chemistry from the ground up: beginning with the basics of the atom and its behavior, to the chemical properties of matter, to the chemical changes and reactions that take place.

        First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me in this course". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

      • Unit 1: Matter and Measurements

        Our first step in this course is to gain a basic understanding of matter and define the basic terminology used to describe matter. This unit will also provide you with a refresher on measurements, as much of this class will require you to express quantities in standard units and amounts. We will also learn about significant figures, which may be a new concept for those of you who have not yet taken a science course.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

      • Unit 2: The Atom

        The atom, along with its protons, neutrons, and electrons, is the basic unit of matter and serves as our starting point for the study of chemistry. Scientists have studied atoms for hundreds of years and have developed a number of different models to describe them. Chemists currently use the quantum mechanical model, which has been around for decades. The "laws” of this model continue to intrigue and spark debate among scientists. For example, one theory states it is impossible to know the exact location and velocity of an electron at the same time.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

      • Unit 3: Bonding

        Bonds are connections between atoms. A solid grasp of valence shell electron pair repulsion (VSEPR ) theory will help you understand how elements that differ by one or two atomic numbers behave.

        According to VSEPR theory, the number of electrons an element has corresponds with its chemical properties. For example, sodium differs from neon and potassium by one atomic number, but it resembles potassium, not neon. Sodium and potassium both have one valence electron, which explains their similar properties, while neon is a stable element with eight valence electrons. We use VSEPR to predict the three-dimensional structure, or geometry, of molecules.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

      • Unit 4: Chemical Formulas and Equations

        Chemists need to write out formulas and equations to solve chemistry problems. In this unit, we begin to name and write compounds and learn how to write out and balance chemical equations.

        Equations enable us to describe chemistry topics in mathematical terms and predict the outcomes of reactions. For example, what volume of steam created if we turn one kilogram of ice into pure steam, at 200o Celsius and sea-level air pressure? We can calculate the precise answer when we write the reaction out in the form of an equation!

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

      • Unit 5: States of Matter

        In this unit, we look at how matter behaves. We will begin with gases because we can describe their behaviors and properties in straightforward equations. We will also study the phase diagram, which predicts the state (solid, liquid or gas) of any group of molecules at any given temperature or pressure.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 15 hours.

      • Unit 6: Thermochemistry and Thermodynamics

        In this unit, we study thermochemistry, which deals with the temperature- and heat-related aspects of chemistry, and thermodynamics, which focuses on the overall energies associated with chemical reactions. Thermodynamics will lead us to the Gibbs free energy equation, which tells us whether a chemical reaction is spontaneous (or will occur without external help).

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

      • Unit 7: Acid-Base and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

        Now let's look at two types of chemical reactions: acid-base and oxidation-reduction. We will review the properties of acids and bases and introduce two acid-base definitions: Arrhenius and Brønsted-Lowry. We will also examine pH calculations, and learn how to use the pH scale to identify acidic and alkaline solutions. Next, we discuss oxidation and reduction, learn how to write and balance equations for oxidation-reduction reactions, and introduce some common oxidizing and reducing agents.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 12 hours.

      • Unit 8: Nuclear Chemistry

        Finally, let's examine the processes of nuclear decay, nuclear fusion, and nuclear fission. We will discuss different types of nuclear decay, learn how to write equations that describe nuclear reactions, review the concept of half-life in the context of radioactive decay, and learn how city planners use nuclear fission to generate electric energy.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

      • Study Guides

        These study guides will help you get ready for the final exam. They discuss the key topics in each unit, walk through the learning outcomes, and list important vocabulary terms. They are not meant to replace the course materials!

      • Course Feedback Survey

        Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

        If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org or post in our discussion forum.