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Chemical Terms

  1. Atom: The smallest particle into which a chemical element can be divided and still retain the proper characteristics of the element.
  2. Ion: Any atom or molecule containing an unequal number of electrons and protons.  Because of this, there is either a negative or positive charge on the atom or molecule.
  3. Isotope: Atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons and a different number of electrons.  They differ in atomic weight.  Atoms with the same number of protons have the same chemical properties, but they have a different number of neutrons. 
  4. Electronegativity: This indicates how strongly atoms hang on to their electrons and attract other electrons.  The higher the electron electronegativity, the more it attracts electrons.
  5. Molecule: A neutral particle composed of two or more atoms combined in a definite ratio of whole numbers.
  6. Isomer: One of a group of molecules that are exactly the same in atomic composition, but they are different in structural arrangement.  For example, glucose and fructose.
  7. Functional Groups: Groups of atoms which confer very specific properties to organic molecules. 
  8. Polymer: Polymers of the atom determine its chemical nature because there are starches which are used to store chemical energy, proteins that speed up chemical reactions, and nucleic acids where hereditary information is stored. 
  9. Pure Substance: This type of substance has only one phase.  It has one kind of matter, has constant properties, and fixed composition.
  10. Mole: A standard unit of measuring the amount of a substance.  One mole is equal to 6.02 x 10ēģ atoms, molecules, or formula units of a substance.