SCIENCE EDUCATION > Chemistry

General Chemistry

This collection helps provide a solid foundation in general chemistry by showcasing basic lab techniques, demonstrating commonly used equipment, and exploring the theory behind fundamental methodology in Chemistry.

  • General Chemistry

    09:51
    Common Lab Glassware and Uses

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Glassware is a regular appearance in the professional chemistry laboratory, because it has a relatively low cost, extreme durability, and specific levels of precision. While some labware is being supplemented with plastic or even everyday kitchen materials, glass is still the standard material by which laboratory work is done. While there are few rules about glassware, there are some best practices for use that set the groundwork for good techniques in the lab. Glass is ubiquitous in the chemistry laboratory, but not all glass is the same. Standard consumer-grade glass is known as "soda-lime" or "float" glass. It is good for many applications, but cracks under rapid heating and cooling applications due to expansion/contraction. Borosilicate glass is used to solve this problem in the lab. Made with an introduction of small amounts of boron, borosilicate glass has a very low coefficient of expansion, which prevents internal stresses. The most common trade name for borosilicate glass is Pyrex, the same type of glass used in some kitchen bakeware. While borosilicate glass is thermally robust, the impurities found in borosilicate and standard glass lead to a limited temperature range and optical quality. Fused silica, or quartz, is used in situations where glass needs to be heated above 450 

  • General Chemistry

    09:48
    Solutions and Concentrations

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Michael Evans — Georgia Institute of Technology

    A solution is a homogeneous mixture containing some components in small amounts, called solutes, and one component in a large amount, called the solvent. Solid-liquid solutions contain one or more solid solutes dissolved in a liquid solvent. Solutions are ubiquitous in chemistry: they are used to store and handle small amounts of material, carry out chemical reactions, and develop materials with controllable properties. The density of a solute in a solution is known as the concentration of the solute. Concentration can be expressed in several ways, differing in the units used to convey the amounts of solute, solvent, and solution. This demonstration illustrates how to prepare a sucrose solution with a target concentration using precise analytical techniques. Additionally, various measures of the concentration of this solution are presented and explained.

  • General Chemistry

    07:18
    Determining the Density of a Solid and Liquid

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Michael Evans — Georgia Institute of Technology

    The ratio of the mass of a substance to its volume is known as the mass density or, simply, the density of the substance. Density is expressed in units of mass per volume, such as g/mL or kg/m3. Because the density of a substance does not depend on the amount of substance present, density is an “intensive property”.

    To measure the density of a sample of material, both the mass and volume of the sample must be determined. For both solids and liquids, a balance can be used to measure mass; however, methods for determining volume are different for solids and liquids. As liquids can flow and take the shapes of their containers, glassware such as a graduated cylinder or volumetric flask can be used to measure the volume of a liquid. The volume of an irregularly-shaped solid can be measured by submersion in a liquid — the difference in volume caused by addition of the solid is equal to the volume of the solid. This demonstration illustrates the methods for measuring the density of solids and liquids. Using a volumetric flask and an analytical balance, the density of ethanol can be determined. Using a graduated cylinder, analytical balance, and water as the displaced liquid, the density of zinc metal can be determined.

  • General Chemistry

    07:29
    Determining the Mass Percent Composition in an Aqueous Solution

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Determining the composition of a solution is an important analytical and forensic technique. When solutions are made with water, they are referred to as being aqueous, or containing water. The primary component of a solution is referred to as the solvent, and the dissolved minor component is called the solute. The solute is dissolved in the solvent to make a solution. Water is the most common solvent in everyday life, as well as nearly all biological systems. In chemistry labs, the solvent may be another liquid, like acetone, ether, or an alcohol. The solute can be a liquid or a solid, but this experiment only addressesthe determination of solids.

  • General Chemistry

    07:04
    Determining the Empirical Formula

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams - SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Determining the chemical formula of a compound is at the heart of what chemists do in the laboratory every day. Many tools are available to aid in this determination, but one of the simplest (and most accurate) is the determination of the empirical formula. Why is this useful? Because of the law of conservation of mass, any reaction can be followed gravimetrically, or by change in mass. The empirical formula provides the smallest whole-number ratio among elements (or compounds) within a molecular compound. In this experiment, gravimetric analysis will be used to determine the empirical formula of copper chloride hydrate, CuxCly·nH2O.

  • General Chemistry

    09:08
    Determining the Solubility Rules of Ionic Compounds

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    An ionic compound's solubility can be determined via qualitative analysis. Qualitative analysis is a branch of analytical chemistry that uses chemical properties and reactions to identify the cation or anion present in a chemical compound. While the chemical reactions rely on known solubility rules, those same rules can be determined by identifying the products that form. Qualitative analysis is not typically done in modern industrial chemistry labs, but it can be used easily in the field without the need of sophisticated instrumentation. Qualitative analysis also focuses on understanding ionic and net ionic reactions as well as organizing data into a flow chart to explain observations and make definitive conclusions. Many cations have similar chemical properties, as do the anion counterparts. Correct identification requires careful separation and analysis to systematically identify the ions present in a solution. It is important to understand acid/base properties, ionic equilibria, redox reactions, and pH properties to identify ions successfully. While there is a qualitative test for virtually every elemental and polyatomic ion, the identification process typically begins with knowing a "class" of ions being analyzed; cations or anions, elemental or polyatomic, groups or periods, transition or m

  • General Chemistry

    09:27
    Using a pH Meter

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Zhongqi He - United States Department of Agriculture

    Acids and bases are substances capable of donating protons (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH-), respectively. They are two extremes that describe chemicals. Mixing acids and bases can cancel out or neutralize their extreme effects. A substance that is neither acidic nor basic is neutral. The values of proton concentration ([H+]) for most solutions are inconveniently small and difficult to compare so that a more practical quantity, pH, has been introduced. pH was originally defined as the decimal logarithm of the reciprocal of the molar concentration of protons , but was updated to the decimal logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion activity . The former definition is now occasionally expressed as p[H]. The difference between p[H] and pH is quite small. It has been stated that pH = p[H] + 0.04. It is common practice to use the term 'pH' for both types of measurements. The pH scale typically ranges from 0 to 14. For a 1 M solution of a strong acid, pH=0 and for a 1 M solution of a strong base, pH=14. Thus, measured pH values will lie mostly in the range 0 to 14, though values outside that range are entirely possible. Pure water is neutral with pH=7. A pH less than 7 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7 is basic. As the pH scale is logarithmic, pH is a dimensionless quantity. Each whole pH value below 7 is 10x mor

  • General Chemistry

    10:16
    Introduction to Titration

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Yee Nee Tan — Agency for Science, Technology, and Research

    Titration is a common technique used to quantitatively determine the unknown concentration of an identified analyte.1-4 It is also called volumetric analysis, as the measurement of volumes is critical in titration. There are many types of titrations based on the types of reactions they exploit. The most common types are acid-base titrations and redox titrations.5-11 In a typical titration process, a standard solution of titrant in a burette is gradually applied to react with an analyte with an unknown concentration in an Erlenmeyer flask. For acid-base titration, a pH indicator is usually added in the analyte solution to indicate the endpoint of titration.12 Instead of adding pH indicators, pH can also be monitored using a pH meter during a titration process and the endpoint is determined graphically from a pH titration curve. The volume of titrant recorded at the endpoint can be used to calculate the concentration of the analyte based on the reaction stoichiometry. For the acid-base titration presented in this video, the titrant is a standardized sodium hydroxide solution and the analyte is domestic vinegar. Vinegar is an acidic liquid that is frequently used as a culinary condiment or flavorings. Vinegar mainly consists of acetic acid (CH3COOH) and water. The acetic acid content of commercial vinegar can vary

  • General Chemistry

    10:05
    Ideal Gas Law

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Andreas Züttel - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

    The ideal gas law describes the behavior of most common gases at near-ambient conditions and the tendency of all chemical matter in the dilute limit. It is a fundamental relationship between three measurable macroscopic system variables (pressure, temperature, and volume) and the number of molecules of gas in the system, and is therefore an essential link between the microscopic and the macroscopic universes. The history of the ideal gas law dates to the middle of the 17th century when the relationship between the pressure and volume of air was found to be inversely proportional, an expression confirmed by Robert Boyle and which we now refer to as Boyle’s law (Equation 1). P V-1 (Equation 1) Unpublished work by Jacques Charles in the 1780s, which was extended to numerous gases and vapors by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and reported in 1802, established the directly proportional relationship between the absolute temperature and volume of a gas. This relationship is called Charles's law (Equation 2). V T (Equation 2) Guillaume Amontons is typically credited with first discovering the relationship between the temperature and pressure of air within a fixed volume at the turn of the 18th century. This law was also extended to numerous other gases by Joseph Louis G

  • General Chemistry

    08:54
    Spectrophotometric Determination of an Equilibrium Constant

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Michael Evans — Georgia Institute of Technology

    The equilibrium constant, K, for a chemical system is the ratio of product concentrations to reactant concentrations at equilibrium, each raised to the power of their respective stoichiometric coefficients. Measurement of K involves determination of these concentrations for systems in chemical equilibrium.

    Reaction systems containing a single colored component can be studied spectrophotometrically. The relation between absorbance and concentration for the colored component is measured and used to determine its concentration in the reaction system of interest. Concentrations of the colorless components can be calculated indirectly using the balanced chemical equation and the measured concentration of the colored component. In this video, the Beer's law curve for Fe(SCN)2+ is determined empirically and applied to the measurement of K for the following reaction: Four reaction systems with different initial concentrations of reactants are investigated to illustrate that K remains constant irrespective of initial concentrations.

  • General Chemistry

    08:36
    Le Châtelier's Principle

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Lynne O'Connell — Boston College

    When the conditions of a system at equilibrium are altered, the system responds in such a way as to maintain the equilibrium. In 1888, Henri-Lewis Le Châtelier described this phenomenon in a principle that states, "When a change in temperature, pressure, or concentration disturbs a system in chemical equilibrium, the change will be counteracted by an alteration in the equilibrium composition." This experiment demonstrates Le Châtelier's principle at work in a reversible reaction between iron(III) ion and thiocyanate ion, which produces iron(III) thiocyante ion: Fe3+(aq) + SCN- (aq) FeSCN2+ (aq) The concentration of one of the ions is altered either by directly adding a quantity of one ion to the solution or by selectively removing an ion from the solution through formation of an insoluble salt. Observations of color changes indicate whether the equilibrium has shifted to favor formation of the products or the reactants. In addition, the effect of a temperature change on the solution at equilibrium can be observed, which leads to the ability to conclude whether the reaction is exothermic or endothermic.

  • General Chemistry

    08:52
    Freezing-Point Depression to Determine an Unknown Compound

    Source: Laboratory of Lynne O' Connell — Boston College

    When a solid compound is dissolved in a solvent, the freezing point of the resulting solution is lower than that of the pure solvent. This phenomenon is known as freezing-point depression, and the change in temperature is directly related to the molecular weight of the solute. This experiment is designed to find the identity of an unknown compound by using the phenomenon of freezing-point depression to determine its molecular weight. The compound will be dissolved in cyclohexane, and the freezing point of this solution, as well as that of pure cyclohexane, will be measured. The difference between these two temperatures allows for the calculation of the molecular weight of the unknown substance.

  • General Chemistry

    10:48
    Determining Rate Laws and the Order of Reaction

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    All chemical reactions have a specific rate defining the progress of reactants going to products. This rate can be influenced by temperature, concentration, and the physical properties of the reactants. The rate also includes the intermediates and transition states that are formed but are neither the reactant nor the product. The rate law defines the role of each reactant in a reaction and can be used to mathematically model the time required for a reaction to proceed. The general form of a rate equation is shown below:     where A and B are concentrations of different molecular species, m and n are reaction orders, and k is the rate constant. The rate of nearly every reaction changes over time as reactants are depleted, making effective collisions less likely to occur. The rate constant, however, is fixed for any single reaction at a given temperature. The reaction order illustrates the number of molecular species involved in a reaction. It is very important to know the rate law, including rate constant and reaction order, which can only be determined experimentally. In this experiment, we will explore one method for determining the rate law and use it to understand the progress of a chemical reaction.

  • General Chemistry

    11:16
    Using Differential Scanning Calorimetry to Measure Changes in Enthalpy

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Terry Tritt — Clemson University

    Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is a method of thermodynamic analysis based on heat-flux method, wherein a sample material (enclosed in a pan) and an empty reference pan are subjected to identical temperature conditions. The energy difference that is required to maintain both the pans at the same temperature, owing to the difference in the heat capacities of the sample and the reference pan, is recorded as a function of temperature. This energy released or absorbed is a measure of the enthalpy change (ΔΗ) of the sample with respect to the reference pan.

  • General Chemistry

    08:41
    Coordination Chemistry Complexes

    Source: Laboratory of Dr. Neal Abrams — SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

    Transition metals are found everywhere from vitamin supplements to electroplating baths. Transition metals also make up the pigments in many paints and compose all minerals. Typically, transition metals are found in the cationic form since they readily oxidize, or lose electrons, and are surrounded by electron donors called ligands. These ligands do not form ionic or covalent bonds with the metal center, rather they take on a third type of bond known as coordinate-covalent. The coordinate-covalent bond between a ligand and a metal is dynamic, meaning that ligands are continuously exchanging and re-coordinating around the metal center. The identities of both the metal and the ligand dictates which ligands will bond preferentially over another. In addition, color and magnetic properties are also due to the types of complexes that are formed. The coordination compounds that form are analyzed using a variety of instruments and tools. This experiment explores why so many complexes are possible and uses a spectrochemical (color and chemical) method to help identify the type of coordination complex that forms.

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