Recent Posts

Dimensional Analysis: Why the Factor Label Method is a Life Saver

Posted by Viemma on 12/14/18 2:22 PM

Ever lost points on a test because you forgot to write the units?

Rightfully so! Numbers have no meaning without its unit of measurement. Two can be greater the 12. Three can equal one. This is all dependent on the unit of measurement being used. In your general chemistry class, you will encounter measurements of all sorts. These measurements include time, length, mass, volume, and many more. Units of measurement are used to conceptualize the magnitude of these measurements. Gram, kilogram, pound, ounce, metric ton, stone, slug, microgram, atomic mass unit, carat… these are all units of measurement for mass alone. Why so many? Some units of measurement are more appropriate depending on what thing is being measured. Using an inappropriate unit of measurement may result in a number value that is too large or too small. When this happens, it becomes very difficult to wrap your head around the magnitude of the measurement. 

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Tags: chemistry

Electron Configurations: A Must Know Hack

Posted by Viemma on 12/12/18 3:15 PM

Imagine this…

You’re taking your general chemistry midterm and you’ve decided to shuffle through the exam and complete all the hard things first. You’ve totally underestimated how much time those problems were going to take you and now you have three minutes left to write the electron configuration of 10 elements. Untimed, this would be easy to do. It’s systematic and straightforward but still requires a decent amount of thought based on how you were taught to do it. Your palms get sweaty. These are supposed to be easy points and there’s a possibility that you won’t complete it. If you do complete it, there’s a possibility that you’ll get them wrong because you were rushed. Your throat is getting tight at this point. You’re trying to recall if you were confident about the other questions you have already done, wondering if you can afford to lose these easy points in front of you. Your teacher announces that there are two more minutes before he starts collecting exams.

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Tags: chemistry

Formal Charge: What They Didn’t Tell You in your General Chemistry Class

Posted by Viemma on 12/3/18 10:14 PM

Formal charge is the charge that a bonded atom would have if its bonding electrons were shared equally

  • It is not an actual charge but rather a form electron book-keeping
  • The sum of formal charges should equal the compound’s actual charge
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Tags: chemistry