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From diamonds to dynamite, everything involves a chemical reaction. This free course, The molecular world, introduces you to the concepts and principles that underpin chemistry at the molecular level. Everyday experiences are used to help you to understand the more complex issues.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- explain what is meant by isotopes, atomic numbers and mass numbers of the atoms of chemical elements by referring to the Rutherford model of the atom;
- give an example of how differences in the molecular structures of chemical compounds give rise to differences in macroscopic properties;
- given a Periodic Table, point to some sets of elements with similar chemistry and to others in which there are progressive trends in chemical properties;
- indicate ways in which the chemical periodicity represented by a Periodic Table matches the periodicity in the electronic structure of atoms;
- use the Lewis structures of one or two simple chemical substances to illustrate the ideas of the octet rule, the electron-pair bond and the valence-shell repulsion theory of molecular shape;
- select a set of organic molecules, each of which contains the same functional group, and use its reactions to show why the functional group concept is useful;
- give an example of how the shape of a molecule can effect its rate of reaction;
- by referring to the three-way catalytic converter in a motor car, explain what is meant by a catalyst and distinguish the separate influences of the rate of reaction and the equilibrium contstant on the progress of a chemical reaction.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Everything that you can see is made of atoms
- 2 Chemical patterns are to be found in the periodic table
- 3 Chemistry can often be explained by electronic structure
- 4 Chemical bonds consist of shared pairs of electrons
- 5 Molecular reactivity
- 6 Molecular shape affects molecular reactivity
- 7 Reactivity needs a favourable rate and equilibrium constant
- 8 Reviewing and reflecting
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
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The molecular world
This unit is an adapted extract from the course
This unit will provide you with a detailed understanding of some of the important problems and topics that are being studied by the chemists of today, and of the ways in which associated problems might be solved by chemical methods. But to acquire this understanding you must have a good grasp of fundamental chemical ideas, which in this unit are covered under seven main headings and an overview. Each of those headings consists of a general idea that is of great importance to chemists. We begin with the idea that comes closest to defining the nature of chemistry itself.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Chemistry courses or view the range of currently available OU Chemistry courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Friday, 3rd June 2011
Last updated on: Wednesday, 14th October 2015
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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