Chemistry pages

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Atomic structure and Bonding:
The Avogadro Constant - in grains of sand.
Intermolecular forces.
Solubility of ionic compounds.

Reaction kinetics:
Rates sometimes fall with an increase in temperature; the third-order oxidation of NO.
Q10 is not 2; an exploration of the fiction that reaction rates double for a 10oC rise in temperature.

Acids and bases:
Titration curves and their plotting.
The buffering action of amino-acids.
The pH of sulphuric acid.
Neutrality is not necessarily pH 7.

The true definition of Kp,
which includes the value of the standrad pressure.

Eo and the feasibility of reaction:
beware the use of Eo without realising what the conditions are.
Electrode potentials in copper.

Raoult's Law:
Raoult's Law and phase diagrams: the link between vp/composition and bp/composition diagrams made clear.

Inorganic reactions catalogues:
Inorganic reactions catalogue for A level.
Inorganic reactions in qualitative analysis: analysis helps you to learn the inorganic reactions - here are the reactions of the commonest ions.

Inorganic problems:
Inorganic problems: problems to help you learn inorganic reactions.

Groups 3 and 4:
Aluminium chloride and water: the results depend on the amount of water you use.
Aluminium chloride
its structure is more complicated than you might think.
Hydrolysis of SiCl4.

Oxides and hydroxides:
Hydroxide precipitates in transition-metal chemistry.
The nature of oxides
(Peter Hughes).

The Membrane Cell:
The Membrane Cell for the electrolysis of purified concentrated brine is very different from its diaphragm predecessors.

Will o'the Wisp is it really burning methane? - and a painting and two poems of that title.
Water - some unusual views of an unusual substance: water re-use; ice.
The Elements: the origin of their names and dates of discovery, with a link to the Periodic Table site from Mark Winter (Sheffield).


Organic reactions catalogues:
Flowcharts for aliphatic and aromatic reactions - to help you learn them by filling in the reagents needed.
Organic reactions catalogue for A level.

Organic preparations and syntheses:
Organic preparations: the reasons why you do what you do.
Organic synthesis; hints and tips on devising and solving synthetic schemes
Drawing chemical apparatus: how to draw apparatus that would work - not a generally good skill in exams at the moment. Avoid the pitfalls.
Organic chemistry problems:  problems to help you learn organic reactions.

Reaction mechanisms:
Orbital representations of molecules and of reactions.
Animated reaction mechanisms.
Reaction mechanisms
and hints on drawing them.

NMR spectroscopy for A level analytical chemistry.
selected MS/IR/NMR spectra.
Chirality - examples of chiral molecules that do not have four groups around a central carbon atom.

Benzene structure.
Isomers of the alkanes
pose a difficult problem in combinatorics.
Esters, fats and oils.




Assessing errors in experimental work: an introduction to the quantitative assessment of error.

Learning to Learn: an introduction to study 'skills'.

Writing the Laboratory Notebook: suggestions to make the recording of your work clear to others.

The Chemical History of a Candle - Faraday's great 1860 Christmas Lectures for young people at the Royal Institution.

Worksheets for volumetric and other exercises.

Exam tips - hints and tips on: getting the best answer with examples and critiques of poor answers; graphs; calculations; dealing with the Synoptic paper.

General exam tips; some wide-ranging advice.

Calculations; how to lay out calculations so that both you and the examiner can understand them.

Graphs - an attempt to dispel some of the myths. Graph plotting is an art, so don't use your computer.

The BEST answer - examples of work which candidates thought were good, but which sadly proved not to be so.

What is a Syllabus for?

Friedrich August Kekule: the man who solved the problem of benzene's structure.

Robert Hooke: seventeenth century scientist, mechanician, architect - England's Leonardo.

Micrographia: Robert Hooke's observations.

England's Leonardo: Robert Hooke and the art of Experiment in Restoration England (Allan Chapman, Wadham College, Oxford).

Original papers:



Kekule on the structure of benzene

Various on the Periodic Table: Dobereiner, Lothar Meyer, Mendeleev.

Henri le Chatelier on his principle.

More on Carmen Giunta's fine pages.

Examinations; a humorous look from  my Commonplace Books.

Jottings about science; some more quotations I have found amusing or illuminating.

A chemical attractant from Amanita muscaria.

Hiawatha's Biochemical Congress (Hugh Sinclair).

Chemists' decline?

What is a syllabus for?

Why does marking exams take so long?

Sulphur or sulfur? If you find the spelling as confusing as the RSC suggests, perhaps you should do something other than Chemistry.

JRG Beavon 1998-2015