BASIC CHEMICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR STUDENTS STARTING OUT IN CHEMISTRY
I. THE PERIODIC TABLE AND CHEMICAL SYMBOLS
o Be able to identify the regions of the periodic table where metals, nonmetals and transition metals are found.
o Know what is meant by the terms: alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, halogens, inert (or noble) gases.
o Be able to use the periodic table to figure out how many protons and neutrons are in the nucleus of an atom of any given element, and how many electrons are in the orbitals around the nucleus of that atom. How many of those electrons are in the outermost shell?
o Know the symbols for the following elements: hydrogen, helium, neon, argon, lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, aluminum, iron, copper, zinc, silver, mercury, chromium, manganese, boron, carbon, silicon, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, sulfur, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine. Which ones exist in nature as diatomic molecules?
o Know the symbols (or formulas) for, and the charges on, ions such as: sodium ion, magnesium ion, iron (III) ion, copper (II) ion, fluoride, chloride, bromide, and iodide ions, nitrate ion, sulfate ion, carbonate ion, bicarbonate (or hydrogen carbonate) ion, hydroxide ion, ammonium ion.
o Be able to write correct formulas for compounds such as: water, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, hydrochloric acid, hydrobromic acid, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate, sodium sulfate, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, ammonium chloride, zinc nitrate, copper (II) bromide.
o Be able to use the periodic table to find the atomic weights of elements and to calculate the molecular weights (or formula weights) of compounds.
o Be able to balance chemical equations.
o Be able to do calculations using the concepts of moles and molarity.
These last two type of skills are those learned in the study of the area of chemistry known as stoichiometry. All of you have had an introduction to stoichiometry in earlier chemistry courses whether in high school or in college. There will be more about stoichiometry in Appendix II.
II. OTHER GENERAL CONCEPTS
o Know what is meant by "the pressure of a gas" and how it varies with changes in temperature and volume.
o Know what is meant by the boiling point or the melting point of a substance.
o Know the difference between an element and a compound; a mixture and a compound; a compound and a solution.
o Know the difference between an ionic compound and a covalent compound.
o Know something about chemical bonding.
o Know what the heat of a reaction is.
o Know what an acid or a base is.
o Know what is meant by "oxidation" and by "reduction".