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Polyatomic Ions: Names and Symbols

Many ions are monoatomic, which means that they are composed of just one atom. However, ions can also be polyatomic, composed of a group of atoms.

For example, take a look at the following table. Notice [more…]

How to Decipher the Formulas of Ionic Compounds

When an ionic compound is formed, the cation and anion attract each other, resulting in a salt. An important thing to remember is that the compound must be neutral — have equal numbers of positive and [more…]

How Ionic Compounds Are Named

When you name ionic compounds, you write the name of the metal first and then the nonmetal. Suppose that you want to name the compound that results from the reaction of lithium and sulfur. You first write [more…]

How to Distinguish Electrolytes from Nonelectrolytes

Electrolytes are substances that conduct electricity in the molten state or when dissolved in water. Nonelectrolytes are substances that don’t conduct electricity when in these states. [more…]

Covalent Bonds: A Hydrogen Example

A covalent bond is a chemical bond that comes from the sharing of one or more electron pairs between two atoms. Hydrogen is an example of an extremely simple covalent compound. [more…]

Multiple Bonds in Covalent Bonding

Covalent bonding is the sharing of one or more electron pairs. In many covalent bonding situations, multiple chemical bonds exist — more than one electron pair is shared. [more…]

How to Name Binary Covalent Compounds

Binary covalent compounds are compounds made up of only two elements, such as carbon dioxide. Prefixes are used in the names of binary compounds to indicate the number of atoms of each nonmetal present [more…]

Covalent Bonds: Types of Chemical Formulas

There are several types of chemical formulas that you can use to represent chemical bonds. These include empirical formulas, molecular (or true) formulas, and structural formulas. [more…]

The Unusual Properties of Water Molecules

Water molecules have unusual chemical and physical properties. Water can exist in all three states of matter at the same time: liquid, gas, and solid.

Imagine that you’re sitting in your hot tub [more…]

Reactants and Products in Chemical Reactions

In a chemical reaction, substances (elements and/or compounds) called reactants are changed into other substances (compounds and/or elements) called products [more…]

Collision Theory: How Chemical Reactions Occur

In order for a chemical reaction to take place, the reactants must collide. The collision between the molecules in a chemical reaction provides the kinetic energy needed to break the necessary bonds so [more…]

The Common Types of Chemical Reactions

Several general types of chemical reactions can occur based on what happens when going from reactants to products. The more common types of chemical reactions are as follows: [more…]

How to Balance Chemical Reactions in Equations

When you write an equation for a chemical reaction, the two sides of the equation should balance — you need the same number of each kind of element on both sides. If you carry out a chemical reaction and [more…]

What Factors Affect the Speed of Chemical Reactions?

Kinetics is the study of the speed of a chemical reaction. Some chemical reactions are fast; others are slow. Sometimes chemists want to speed the slow ones up and slow the fast ones down. [more…]

Redox Reactions: Oxidation and Reduction

Redox reactions — reactions in which there’s a simultaneous transfer of electrons from one chemical species to another — are really composed of two different reactions: [more…]

Rules for Assigning Oxidation Numbers to Elements

Oxidation numbers are bookkeeping numbers. They allow chemists to do things such as balance redox (reduction/oxidation) equations. Oxidation numbers are positive or negative numbers, but don’t confuse [more…]

How to Balance Redox Equations

Redox equations are often so complex that fiddling with coefficients to balance chemical equations doesn’t always work well. Chemists have developed an alternative method [more…]

Electrochemical Cells: The Daniell Cell

Many of the things we deal with in life are related either directly or indirectly to electrochemical reactions. The Daniell cell is an electrochemical cell named after John Frederic Daniell, the British [more…]

Electrochemical Cells: Flashlight Cells

The common flashlight cell, a dry electrochemical cell, is contained in a zinc housing that acts as the anode (the electrode at which oxidation takes place). The other electrode, the cathode [more…]

Electrochemical Cells: Automobile Batteries

The automobile battery, or lead storage battery, consists of six electrochemical cells connected in series. The anode of each cell is lead, while the cathode is lead dioxide. [more…]

How the Electroplating Process Works

Electrolytic cells, cells that use electricity to produce a desired redox reaction, are used extensively in our society, for processes such as electroplating and electrolysis. [more…]

Combustion Reactions of Fuels and Foods

Combustion reactions of fuels and foods are types of redox reactions that are essential for life and civilization — because heat is the most important product of these reactions. [more…]

The Periodicity of Chemical Elements

A pattern of repeating order is called periodicity. In the mid-1800s, Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist, noticed a repeating pattern of chemical properties in elements. [more…]

The Periodic Table: Metals, Nonmetals, and Metalloids

Using the periodic table, you can classify the elements in many ways. One useful way is by metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. Most of the elements on the periodic table are classified as metals. [more…]

Electronegativity and Polar Covalent Bonding

Electronegativity is the strength an atom has to attract a bonding pair of electrons to itself. When a chlorine atom covalently bonds to another chlorine atom, the shared electron pair is shared equally [more…]


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