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Chemistry is the scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the elements that make up matter to the compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during a reaction with other substances.
In the scope of its subject, chemistry occupies an intermediate position between
- Primary chemical bonds, such as metallic bonds
- Secondary chemical bonds, such as hydrogen bonds; Van der Waals force bonds; ion-ion interaction; ion-dipole interactions
The modern word alchemy in turn is derived from the
The current model of atomic structure is the
The chemistry laboratory stereotypically uses various forms of laboratory glassware. However glassware is not central to chemistry, and a great deal of experimental (as well as applied/industrial) chemistry is done without it.
A chemical reaction is a transformation of some substances into one or more different substances. The basis of such a chemical transformation is the rearrangement of electrons in the chemical bonds between atoms. It can be symbolically depicted through a chemical equation, which usually involves atoms as subjects. The number of atoms on the left and the right in the equation for a chemical transformation is equal. (When the number of atoms on either side is unequal, the transformation is referred to as a nuclear reaction or radioactive decay.) The type of chemical reactions a substance may undergo and the energy changes that may accompany it are constrained by certain basic rules, known as chemical laws.
In chemistry, matter is defined as anything that has rest mass and volume (it takes up space) and is made up of particles. The particles that make up matter have rest mass as well – not all particles have rest mass, such as the photon. Matter can be a pure chemical substance or a mixture of substances.
The atom is also the smallest entity that can be envisaged to retain the
A chemical element is a pure substance which is composed of a single type of atom, characterized by its particular number of protons in the nuclei of its atoms, known as the atomic number and represented by the symbol Z. The mass number is the sum of the number of protons and neutrons in a nucleus. Although all the nuclei of all atoms belonging to one element will have the same atomic number, they may not necessarily have the same mass number; atoms of an element which have different mass numbers are known as isotopes. For example, all atoms with 6 protons in their nuclei are atoms of the chemical element carbon, but atoms of carbon may have mass numbers of 12 or 13.
The standard presentation of the chemical elements is in the
A compound is a pure chemical substance composed of more than one element. The properties of a compound bear little similarity to those of its elements.
A molecule is the smallest indivisible portion of a pure chemical substance that has its unique set of chemical properties, that is, its potential to undergo a certain set of chemical reactions with other substances. However, this definition only works well for substances that are composed of molecules, which is not true of many substances (see below). Molecules are typically a set of atoms bound together by covalent bonds, such that the structure is electrically neutral and all valence electrons are paired with other electrons either in bonds or in lone pairs.
Thus, molecules exist as electrically neutral units, unlike ions. When this rule is broken, giving the "molecule" a charge, the result is sometimes named a
The "inert" or
However, not all substances or chemical compounds consist of discrete molecules, and indeed most of the solid substances that make up the solid crust, mantle, and core of the Earth are chemical compounds without molecules. These other types of substances, such as
One of the main characteristics of a molecule is its geometry often called its
Substance and mixture
A chemical substance is a kind of matter with a definite
Mole and amount of substance
The mole is a unit of measurement that denotes an amount of substance (also called chemical amount). One mole is defined to contain exactly 6.02214076×1023 particles (atoms, molecules, ions, or electrons), where the number of particles per mole is known as the Avogadro constant. Molar concentration is the amount of a particular substance per volume of solution, and is commonly reported in mol/dm3.
In addition to the specific chemical properties that distinguish different chemical classifications, chemicals can exist in several phases. For the most part, the chemical classifications are independent of these bulk phase classifications; however, some more exotic phases are incompatible with certain chemical properties. A phase is a set of states of a chemical system that have similar bulk structural properties, over a range of conditions, such as pressure or temperature.
Physical properties, such as density and refractive index tend to fall within values characteristic of the phase. The phase of matter is defined by the phase transition, which is when energy put into or taken out of the system goes into rearranging the structure of the system, instead of changing the bulk conditions.
Sometimes the distinction between phases can be continuous instead of having a discrete boundary' in this case the matter is considered to be in a supercritical state. When three states meet based on the conditions, it is known as a triple point and since this is invariant, it is a convenient way to define a set of conditions.
The most familiar examples of phases are solids, liquids, and gases. Many substances exhibit multiple solid phases. For example, there are three phases of solid iron (alpha, gamma, and delta) that vary based on temperature and pressure. A principal difference between solid phases is the crystal structure, or arrangement, of the atoms. Another phase commonly encountered in the study of chemistry is the aqueous phase, which is the state of substances dissolved in aqueous solution (that is, in water).
Less familiar phases include
Atoms sticking together in molecules or crystals are said to be bonded with one another. A chemical bond may be visualized as the
The chemical bond can be a
An ionic bond is formed when a metal loses one or more of its electrons, becoming a positively charged cation, and the electrons are then gained by the non-metal atom, becoming a negatively charged anion. The two oppositely charged ions attract one another, and the ionic bond is the electrostatic force of attraction between them. For example, sodium (Na), a metal, loses one electron to become an Na+ cation while chlorine (Cl), a non-metal, gains this electron to become Cl−. The ions are held together due to electrostatic attraction, and that compound sodium chloride (NaCl), or common table salt, is formed.
In a covalent bond, one or more pairs of valence electrons are shared by two atoms: the resulting electrically neutral group of bonded atoms is termed a molecule. Atoms will share valence electrons in such a way as to create a noble gas electron configuration (eight electrons in their outermost shell) for each atom. Atoms that tend to combine in such a way that they each have eight electrons in their valence shell are said to follow the octet rule. However, some elements like hydrogen and lithium need only two electrons in their outermost shell to attain this stable configuration; these atoms are said to follow the duet rule, and in this way they are reaching the electron configuration of the noble gas helium, which has two electrons in its outer shell.
Similarly, theories from
In the context of chemistry, energy is an attribute of a substance as a consequence of its
A reaction is said to be
Chemical reactions are invariably not possible unless the reactants surmount an energy barrier known as the activation energy. The speed of a chemical reaction (at given temperature T) is related to the activation energy E, by the Boltzmann's population factor – that is the probability of a molecule to have energy greater than or equal to E at the given temperature T. This exponential dependence of a reaction rate on temperature is known as the Arrhenius equation. The activation energy necessary for a chemical reaction to occur can be in the form of heat, light, electricity or mechanical force in the form of ultrasound.
A related concept free energy, which also incorporates entropy considerations, is a very useful means for predicting the feasibility of a reaction and determining the state of equilibrium of a chemical reaction, in chemical thermodynamics. A reaction is feasible only if the total change in the Gibbs free energy is negative, ; if it is equal to zero the chemical reaction is said to be at equilibrium.
There exist only limited possible states of energy for electrons, atoms and molecules. These are determined by the rules of quantum mechanics, which require quantization of energy of a bound system. The atoms/molecules in a higher energy state are said to be excited. The molecules/atoms of substance in an excited energy state are often much more reactive; that is, more amenable to chemical reactions.
The phase of a substance is invariably determined by its energy and the energy of its surroundings. When the
The transfer of energy from one chemical substance to another depends on the size of energy
The existence of characteristic energy levels for different
When a chemical substance is transformed as a result of its interaction with another substance or with energy, a chemical reaction is said to have occurred. A chemical reaction is therefore a concept related to the "reaction" of a substance when it comes in close contact with another, whether as a mixture or a solution; exposure to some form of energy, or both. It results in some energy exchange between the constituents of the reaction as well as with the system environment, which may be designed vessels—often laboratory glassware.
Chemical reactions can result in the formation or dissociation of molecules, that is, molecules breaking apart to form two or more molecules or rearrangement of atoms within or across molecules. Chemical reactions usually involve the making or breaking of chemical bonds. Oxidation, reduction, dissociation, acid–base neutralization and molecular rearrangement are some of the commonly used kinds of chemical reactions.
A chemical reaction can be symbolically depicted through a chemical equation. While in a non-nuclear chemical reaction the number and kind of atoms on both sides of the equation are equal, for a nuclear reaction this holds true only for the nuclear particles viz. protons and neutrons.
The sequence of steps in which the reorganization of chemical bonds may be taking place in the course of a chemical reaction is called its
According to the
Ions and salts
An ion is a charged species, an atom or a molecule, that has lost or gained one or more electrons. When an atom loses an electron and thus has more protons than electrons, the atom is a positively charged ion or
Plasma is composed of gaseous matter that has been completely ionized, usually through high temperature.
Acidity and basicity
A substance can often be classified as an acid or a
A third common theory is Lewis acid–base theory, which is based on the formation of new chemical bonds. Lewis theory explains that an acid is a substance which is capable of accepting a pair of electrons from another substance during the process of bond formation, while a base is a substance which can provide a pair of electrons to form a new bond. According to this theory, the crucial things being exchanged are charges.[unreliable source?] There are several other ways in which a substance may be classified as an acid or a base, as is evident in the history of this concept.
Acid strength is commonly measured by two methods. One measurement, based on the Arrhenius definition of acidity, is pH, which is a measurement of the hydronium ion concentration in a solution, as expressed on a negative logarithmic scale. Thus, solutions that have a low pH have a high hydronium ion concentration and can be said to be more acidic. The other measurement, based on the Brønsted–Lowry definition, is the acid dissociation constant (Ka), which measures the relative ability of a substance to act as an acid under the Brønsted–Lowry definition of an acid. That is, substances with a higher Ka are more likely to donate hydrogen ions in chemical reactions than those with lower Ka values.
Redox (reduction-oxidation) reactions include all
A reductant transfers electrons to another substance and is thus oxidized itself. And because it "donates" electrons it is also called an electron donor. Oxidation and reduction properly refer to a change in oxidation number—the actual transfer of electrons may never occur. Thus, oxidation is better defined as an increase in
Although the concept of equilibrium is widely used across sciences, in the context of chemistry, it arises whenever a number of different states of the chemical composition are possible, as for example, in a mixture of several chemical compounds that can react with one another, or when a substance can be present in more than one kind of phase.
A system of chemical substances at equilibrium, even though having an unchanging composition, is most often not
Chemical reactions are governed by certain laws, which have become fundamental concepts in chemistry. Some of them are:
- Avogadro's law
- Beer–Lambert law
- Boyle's law (1662, relating pressure and volume)
- Charles's law (1787, relating volume and temperature)
- Fick's laws of diffusion
- Gay-Lussac's law(1809, relating pressure and temperature)
- Le Chatelier's principle
- Henry's law
- Hess's law
- Law of conservation of energy leads to the important concepts of equilibrium, thermodynamics, and kinetics.
- Law of conservation of mass continues to be conserved in isolated systems, even in modern physics. However, special relativity shows that due to mass–energy equivalence, whenever non-material "energy" (heat, light, kinetic energy) is removed from a non-isolated system, some mass will be lost with it. High energy losses result in loss of weighable amounts of mass, an important topic in nuclear chemistry.
- Law of definite composition, although in many systems (notably biomacromolecules and minerals) the ratios tend to require large numbers, and are frequently represented as a fraction.
- Law of multiple proportions
- Raoult's law
The history of chemistry spans a period from very old times to the present. Since several millennia BC, civilizations were using technologies that would eventually form the basis of the various branches of chemistry. Examples include extracting metals from ores, making pottery and glazes, fermenting beer and wine, extracting chemicals from plants for medicine and perfume, rendering fat into soap, making glass, and making alloys like bronze.
Chemistry was preceded by its protoscience, alchemy, which operated a non-scientific approach to understanding the constituents of matter and their interactions. Despite being unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations, alchemists set the stage for modern chemistry by performing experiments and recording the results. Robert Boyle, although skeptical of elements and convinced of alchemy, played a key part in elevating the "sacred art" as an independent, fundamental and philosophical discipline in his work The Sceptical Chymist (1661).
While both alchemy and chemistry are concerned with matter and its transformations, the crucial difference was given by the
The definition of chemistry has changed over time, as new discoveries and theories add to the functionality of the science. The term "chymistry", in the view of noted scientist Robert Boyle in 1661, meant the subject of the material principles of mixed bodies. In 1663, the chemist Christopher Glaser described "chymistry" as a scientific art, by which one learns to dissolve bodies, and draw from them the different substances on their composition, and how to unite them again, and exalt them to a higher perfection.
The 1730 definition of the word "chemistry", as used by Georg Ernst Stahl, meant the art of resolving mixed, compound, or aggregate bodies into their principles; and of composing such bodies from those principles. In 1837, Jean-Baptiste Dumas considered the word "chemistry" to refer to the science concerned with the laws and effects of molecular forces. This definition further evolved until, in 1947, it came to mean the science of substances: their structure, their properties, and the reactions that change them into other substances – a characterization accepted by Linus Pauling. More recently, in 1998, Professor Raymond Chang broadened the definition of "chemistry" to mean the study of matter and the changes it undergoes.
A basic chemical hypothesis first emerged in
An early form of the idea of conservation of mass is the notion that "Nothing comes from nothing" in Ancient Greek philosophy, which can be found in Empedocles (approx. 4th century BC): "For it is impossible for anything to come to be from what is not, and it cannot be brought about or heard of that what is should be utterly destroyed." and Epicurus (3rd century BC), who, describing the nature of the Universe, wrote that "the totality of things was always such as it is now, and always will be".
The Arabic works attributed to
Under the influence of the
In the following decades, many important discoveries were made, such as the nature of 'air' which was discovered to be composed of many different gases. The Scottish chemist
The development of the electrochemical theory of chemical combinations occurred in the early 19th century as the result of the work of two scientists in particular,
At the turn of the twentieth century the theoretical underpinnings of chemistry were finally understood due to a series of remarkable discoveries that succeeded in probing and discovering the very nature of the internal structure of atoms. In 1897,
His work on atomic structure was improved on by his students, the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, Henry Moseley and Otto Hahn, who went on to father the emerging nuclear chemistry. The electronic theory of chemical bonds and molecular orbitals was developed by the American scientists Linus Pauling and Gilbert N. Lewis.
The year 2011 was declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Chemistry. It was an initiative of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and involves chemical societies, academics, and institutions worldwide and relied on individual initiatives to organize local and regional activities.
Organic chemistry was developed by
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source.(September 2014)
Chemistry is typically divided into several major sub-disciplines. There are also several main cross-disciplinary and more specialized fields of chemistry.
- Analytical chemistry is the analysis of material samples to gain an understanding of their chemical composition and structure. Analytical chemistry incorporates standardized experimental methods in chemistry. These methods may be used in all subdisciplines of chemistry, excluding purely theoretical chemistry.
- Inorganic chemistry is the study of the properties and reactions of inorganic compounds. The distinction between organic and inorganic disciplines is not absolute and there is much overlap, most importantly in the sub-discipline of organometallic chemistry.
- interfacesbetween different phases.
- neurochemicals; including transmitters, peptides, proteins, lipids, sugars, and nucleic acids; their interactions, and the roles they play in forming, maintaining, and modifying the nervous system.
- Nuclear chemistry is the study of how subatomic particles come together and make nuclei. Modern Transmutation is a large component of nuclear chemistry, and the table of nuclides is an important result and tool for this field.
- Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, mechanisms, and reactions of organic compounds. An organic compound is defined as any compound based on a carbon skeleton.
- Physical chemistry is the study of the physical and fundamental basis of chemical systems and processes. In particular, the energetics and dynamics of such systems and processes are of interest to physical chemists. Important areas of study include chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, statistical mechanics, spectroscopy, and more recently, astrochemistry. Physical chemistry has large overlap with molecular physics. Physical chemistry involves the use of infinitesimal calculus in deriving equations. It is usually associated with quantum chemistry and theoretical chemistry. Physical chemistry is a distinct discipline from chemical physics, but again, there is very strong overlap.
- Theoretical chemistry is the study of chemistry via fundamental theoretical reasoning (usually within mathematics or physics). In particular the application of quantum mechanics to chemistry is called quantum chemistry. Since the end of the Second World War, the development of computers has allowed a systematic development of computational chemistry, which is the art of developing and applying computer programs for solving chemical problems. Theoretical chemistry has large overlap with (theoretical and experimental) condensed matter physics and molecular physics.
Others subdivisions include
- American Chemical Society
- American Society for Neurochemistry
- Chemical Institute of Canada
- Chemical Society of Peru
- International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
- Royal Australian Chemical Institute
- Royal Netherlands Chemical Society
- Royal Society of Chemistry
- Society of Chemical Industry
- World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists
- List of chemistry societies
- Comparison of software for molecular mechanics modeling
- Glossary of chemistry terms
- International Year of Chemistry
- List of chemists
- List of compounds
- List of important publications in chemistry
- List of unsolved problems in chemistry
- Outline of chemistry
- Periodic systems of small molecules
- Philosophy of chemistry
- Science tourism
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Introductory undergraduate textbooks
- Atkins, P.W., Overton, T., Rourke, J., Weller, M. and Armstrong, F. Shriver and Atkins Inorganic Chemistry (4th edition) 2006 (Oxford University Press) ISBN 0-19-926463-5
- Chang, Raymond. Chemistry 6th ed. Boston: James M. Smith, 1998. ISBN 0-07-115221-0.
- ISBN 978-0-19-850346-0.
- Voet and Voet. Biochemistry (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-58651-X
Advanced undergraduate-level or graduate textbooks
- Atkins, P. W. Physical Chemistry (Oxford University Press) ISBN 0-19-879285-9
- Atkins, P. W. et al. Molecular Quantum Mechanics (Oxford University Press)
- McWeeny, R. Coulson's Valence (Oxford Science Publications) ISBN 0-19-855144-4
- Pauling, L. The Nature of the chemical bond (Cornell University Press) ISBN 0-8014-0333-2
- Pauling, L., and Wilson, E.B. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics with Applications to Chemistry (Dover Publications) ISBN 0-486-64871-0
- Smart and Moore. Solid State Chemistry: An Introduction (Chapman and Hall) ISBN 0-412-40040-5
- Stephenson, G. Mathematical Methods for Science Students (Longman) ISBN 0-582-44416-0