UNCChem Glossary | Ion | Atoms

UNCChem Glossary

Click on the first letter of the term. [a][b][c][d][e][f][g][h][i][j][k][l][m][n][o][p][q][r][s][t][u][v][w][x][y][z] UNChem Main Page or Shodor Home Page A acceleration Measure of how fast velocity is changing, so we can think of it as the change in velocity over time. The most common use of acceleration is acceleration due to gravity which can also appear as the gravitational constant (9.8 m/s2). acid Compound that gives off H+ ions in solution. acidic Describes a solution with a high concentration of H+ ions. anion Ions with a negative charge anode The electrode where electrons are lost (oxidized) in redox reactions. area Measures the size of a surface using length measurements in two dimensions. associativity A property in math which states that: (A+B)+C=A+(B+C) and (A*B)*C=A*(B*C) atmospheres Common units for measuring pressure. atom The smallest object that retains properties of an element. Composed of electrons and a nucleus (containing protons and neutrons). atomic number Number of protons in an element. Avagadro's number Number representing the number of molecules in one (1) mole: 6.023 * 1023. Back to top. B base basic Having the characteristics of a base. Bohr's atom Substance which gives off hydroxide ions (OH-) in solution.

Bohr made significant contributions to the atom. He understood the line spectra-- the reason why only certain wavelengths are emitted when atoms jump down levels. buffer solutions Solutions that resist changes in their pH, even when small amounts of acid or base are added. Back to top. C catalyst Substance that speeds up a chemical process without actually changing the products of reaction cathode Electrode where electrons are gained (reduction) in redox reactions. cations Ion with a positive charge. central atom In a Lewis structure, usually the atom that is the most electronegative. charge Describes an object's ability to repel or attract other objects. Protons have positive charges while electrons have negative charges. Like charges repel each other while opposite charges, such as protons and electrons, attract one another. chemical changes Processes or events that have altered the fundamental structure of something. chemical equation An expression of a fundamental change in the chemical substances. closure A mathmatical term which says that if you operated on any two real numbers A and B with +,-,* or /, you get a real number colligative properties Properties of a solution that depend only on the number of particles dissolved in it, not the properties of the particles themselves. The main colligative properties addressed at this web site are boiling point elevation and freezing point depression. combustion When substances combine with oxygen and release energy. commutativity A math property which states: A+B=B+A and A*B=B*A compound Two or more atoms joined together chemically, with covalent or ionic bonds. concentration The amount of substance in a specified space. conjugate acid A substance which can lose a H+ ion to form a base. conjugate base A substance which can gain a H+ ion to form an acid.

covalent bonds When two atoms share at least one pair of electrons. Back to top. D daughter isotope In a nuclear equation the compound remaining after the parent isotope (the original isotope) has undergone decay. A compound undergoing decay, such as alpha decay, will break into an alpha particle and a daughter isotope. decay Change of an element into a different element, usually with some other particle(s) and energy emitted. decimal The number of digits to the right of the decimal point in a number dense A compact substance or a substance with a high density. density Mass per unit volume of a substance. dipole-dipole forces Intermolecular forces that exist between polar molecules. Active only when the molecules are close together. The strengths of intermolecular attractions increase when polarity increases. dispersion forces (also called London dispersion forces) Dispersion is an intermolecular attraction force that exists between all molecules. These forces are the result of the movement of electrons which cause slight polar moments. Dispersion forces are generally very weak but as the molecular weight increases so does their strength. dissociation Breaking down of a compound into its components. distributivity A math property which states: A*(B+C)=(A*B)+(A*C) double bond When an atom is bonded to another atom by two sets of electron pairs. Back to top. E effusion Movement of gas molecules through a small opening. electrochemical cell Gives an electric current with a steady voltage as a result of an electron transfer reaction. electrodes Device that moves electrons into or out of a solution by conduction.

electrolysis Changing the chemical structure of a compound using electrical energy. electromagnetic spectrum Complete range of wavelengths which light can have. These include infared, ultraviolet, and all other types of electromagnetic radiation, as well as visible light. electron One of the parts of the atom having a negative charge. Indivisible particle with a charge of -1. electron geometry Structure of a compound based on the arrangement of its electrons. electronegativity Measure of a substances's ability to attract electrons. electrostatic forces Forces between charged objects. element Substance consisting of only one type of atom. empirical formula Formula showing the simplist ratio of elements in a compound. endothermic Reaction that absorbs heat from its surroundings as the reaction proceeds. energy Ability to do work. enthalpy Change in heat. entropy Measure of the disorder of a system. equilibrium When the reactants and products are in a constant ratio. The forward reaction and the reverse reactions occur at the same rate when a system is in equilibrium. equilibrium constant Value that expresses how far the reaction proceeds before reaching equilibrium. A small number means that the equilibrium is towards the reactants side while a large number means that the equilibrium is towards the products side. equilibrium expressions The expression giving the ratio between the products and reactants. The equilibrium expression is equal to the concentration of each product raised to its coefficient in a balanced chemical equation and multiplied together, divided by the concentrat ion of the product of reactants to the power of their coefficients. equivelence point Occurs when the moles of acid equal the moles of base in a solution. exothermic Reaction that gives off heat to the environment. exponentiation Raising something to a power. Back to top.

F force An entity that when applied to a mass causes it to accelerate. Sir Isaac Newton's Second Law of mation states: the magnitude of a force = mass * acceleration. free electron Electron which is not attached to a nucleus. free energy The energy of a system that is available to do work at constant temperature and pressure. frequency Number of events in a given unit of time. When describing a moving wave, means the number of peaks which would pass a stationary point in a given amount of time. Back to top. G geiger counter Instrument that measures radiation output. Graham's law The rate of diffusion of a gas is inversely proportional to the square root of its molecular weight. Back to top. H half life The amount of time it takes for half an initial amount to disintegrate. Heisenberg uncertainty principle This principle states that it is not possible to know a particle's location and momentum precisely at any time. hydrogen bonding Strong type of intermolecular dipole-dipole atttraction. Occurs between hydrogen and F, O or N. hydrolysis When water reacts with another substance and as a result the oxygen in water makes a bond with the substance. Back to top. I ideal gas law PV=nRT Describes the relationship between pressure (P), temperature (T), volume (V), and moles

of gas (n). It is not completely accurate, and becomes less accurate as conditions become less ideal. identity A math property which states: A+0=A and A*1=A. intermolecular forces Forces between molecules. intramolecular forces Forces within molecules. Forces caused by the attraction and repulsion of charged particles. inverse A math property which states: A+(-A)=0 and A*(1/A)=1 ion Removing or adding electrons to an atom creates an ion (a charged object very similar to an atom). ion-dipole forces Intermolecular force that exist between charged particles and partially charged molecules. ionic bonds When two oppositely charged atoms share at least one pair of electrons but the electrons spend more time near one of the atoms than the other. ionization energy Energy required to remove an electron from a specific atom. ionizes When a substance breaks into its ionic components. isotopes Elements with the same number of protons but have different numbers of neutrons, and thus different masses. Back to top. K kelvin The SI Unit of temperature. It is the degrees celsius plus 273. kinetic energy Energy an object has because of its mass and velocity. Objects that don't move have no kinetic energy. (Kinetic Energy=0.5* mass*velocity2. Back to top. L Le Chatlier's principle States that a system at equilibrum will oppose any change in the equilibrium conditions. Lewis structures A way of representing molecular structures based on valence electrons. limiting reagent

The reactant that will be exhausted first. line spectra Spectra generated by excited substances. Consists of radiation with only specific wavelengths. Back to top. M mass number The number of protons and neutrons in an atom. mixture Composed of two or more substances, but each keeps its original properties. molality The number of moles of solute (the material dissolved) per kilogram of solvent (what the solute is dissolved in). molar An term expressing molarity, the number of moles of solute/ liters of solution molarity The number of moles of solute (the material dissolved) per liter of solution. Used to express the concentration of a solution. mole A collection of 6.023* 1023 number of objects. Usually used to mean molecules. molecular formula Shows the number of atoms of each element present in a molecule. molecular geometry Shape of a molecule, based on the relative positions of the atoms. molecular weight The combined weight (as given on the periodic table) of all the elements in a compound. molecule Two or more atoms chemically combined. mole fraction The number of moles of a particular substance expressed as a fraction of the total number of moles. Back to top. N neutral An object that does not have a positive or negative charge. neutron A particle found in the nucleus of an atom. It is almost identical in mass to a proton, but carries no electric charge. nm An abbreviation for nano-meters. A nano-meter is equal to 10-9 meters.

nucleus The central part of an atom that contains the protons and neutrons. Plural nuclei. Back to top. O octet In Lewis structures the goal is to make almost all atoms have an octet. This means that they will have access to 8 electrons regularly, even if they do have to share some of them. orbitals An energy state in the atomic model which describes where an electron will likely be. oxidation number A number assigned to each atom to help keep track of the electrons during a redoxreaction. oxidation reaction A reaction where a substance loses electrons oxidation-reduction-reaction A reaction involving the transfer of electrons. oxyacid When one or more hydroxide (OH) groups are bonded to a central atom. Back to top. P parent isotope An element that undergoes nuclear decay. partial pressures The pressure exerted by a certain gas in a mixture. particle Small portion of matter percent composition Expresses the weight ratio between different elements in a compound. periodic table Grouping of the known elements by their number of protons. There are many other trends such as size of elements and electronegativity that are easily expressed in terms of the periodic table. pH Measures the acidity of a solution. It is the negative log of the concentration of the hydrogen ions in a substance. photons Massless packet of energy, which behaves like both a wave and a particle. physical property A property that can be measured without changing the chemical composition of a substance.

pi bonds A type of covalent bond in which the electron density is concentrated around the line bonding the atoms. Planck Planck contributed to the understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum by realizing that the relationship between the change in energy and frequency is quantized according to the equation delta E=hv where h is Planck's constant. pOH Measures the basicity of a solution. It is the negative log of the concentration of the hydroxide ions. polar molecules Molecule with a partial charge. potential energy The energy an object has because of its composition or position. pressure Force per unit area. principal quantum number The number related to the amount of energy an electron has and therefore describing which shell the electron is in. products The compounds that are formed when a reaction goes to completion. proportion An equality between two ratios. proton Particle found in a nucleus with a positive charge. Number of these gives atomic number. Back to top. Q quantum Something which comes in discrete units. Eg, money is quantized (divided into units); it comes in quanta (divisions) of one cent. quantum numbers Set of numbers used to describe an electron's position. Back to top. R radiant energy Energy which is transmitted away from its source. eg, energy that is emitted when electrons transition down from one level to another. radiation Energy in the form of photons. radioactive

Substance containing an element which decays. ratio The relative size of two quantities expressed as the quotient of one divided by the other; the ratio of a to b is written as a:b or a/b. reactants Substances initially present in a chemical reaction. reduction reaction A reaction in which a substance gains at least one electron. Back to top. S salts Ionic compounds that can be formed by replacing one or more of the hydrogen ions of an acid with another positive ion. shells Where the electrons generally stay. There are 4 types of electron shells: s, p, d and f shells. sigma bonds A type of covalent bond in which most of the electrons are located in between the nuclei. single bond When an electron pair is shared by two different elements. SI Unit Stands for Systeme International d'Unites, a international system which established a uniform set of measurement units. solute What is dissolved in a solution eg, the salt in saltwater. solution Mixture of a solid and a liquid where the solid never settles out, eg saltwater. solvent Liquid in which something is dissolved, eg the water in saltwater. specific heat The amount of heat it takes for a substance to be raised one degree C. spontaneous reaction A reaction that will proceed without any outside energy. state property A state property is a quantity that is independent of how the substance was prepared. Examples of state properties are altitude, pressure, volume, temperature and internal energy. states of matter Solid, liquid, gas and plasma. Plasma is a "soup" of diassociated nuclei and electrons, normally found only in stellar objects. stoichiometry The study of the relationships between amounts of products and reactants. STP

Standard temperature and pressure. This is 0oC and 1 atm. sublevel One part of a level, each of which can hold different numbers of electrons. Back to top. T term Each compound or element in a chemical equation. thermodynamics The study of heat and energy flow in chemical reactions. titration Reacting a solution of unknown concentration with a solution of a known concentration for the purpose of finding out more about the unknown solution. Back to top. V valence electrons The electrons in the outermost shell of an atom. van der Waals equation An equation for non-ideal gasses that accounts for intermolecular attraction and the volumes occupied by the gas molecules. velocity Speed of an object; the change in position over time. volume Measures the size of an object using length measurements in three dimensions. Back to top. W wave A signal which propagates through space, much like a water wave moves through water. wavelength On a periodic curve, the length between two consecutive troughs (low points) or peaks (high points). weak acid Substances capable of donating hydrogen but do not completely ionize in solution. weak bases Substances capable of accepting hydrogen but do not completely ionize in solution. work Expression of the movement of an object against some force.

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