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Biology Chapter 6 Study Guide: Basic Chemistry Vocabulary

Element: A substance that is made up of the same type of atom throughout. Elements are
listed on the periodic table.
Atoms: smallest building block of matter. It is made up of a nucleus of positively charged
protons and neutrally charged neutrons. Negatively charged electrons orbit the nucleus in
energy levels. The outermost energy level is called the valance level and it attempts to fill up
with electrons by sharing or borrowing electrons from other atoms.
Chemical Bond: A force of attraction that holds atoms together.
Covalent Bond: A bond formed between two atoms that are sharing the same electrons in
order to fill their outer valence energy level.
Compound: two or more different kinds of atoms bonded together.
Molecule: any two or more atoms bonded together even if they are of the same element.
Diatomic molecule: Two atoms of the same element bonded together. For example: O2
Atomic Number: This is the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom. Since the number
of electrons equals the number of protons in order to cancel out their charges, it is also the
number of electrons. The atoms are arranged on the periodic table in numerical order by their
atomic numbers.
Atomic Mass: This is the total weight of the nucleus assuming that each proton and neutron in
the nucleus weight of 1 atomic mass unit (amu). Therefore, it is the total number of proton
and neutrons in the nucleus.
Isotope: Two atoms with the same atomic number, which is the number of protons (this means
that they are still of the same element) has differing atomic masses. This means that since the
number of protons is still the same that the number of neutrons in the nucleus must differ.
Radioactive: When an isotope becomes unstable it may release neutrons or other subatomic
particles. These particles may collide with other atoms causing them to become unstable.
Isotopes with unstable nuclei are considered radioactive.
Ion: When the number of electrons is different than the number of protons the atom becomes
charged and is now called an ion. An ion can have a negative charge if it gains more
negatively charged particles (electrons), or positively charged if it loses negativity by losing

electrons. A salt can disassociate in water by separating into two separate positive and
negative ions. If these same ions were to rejoin to form a salt again later the process would be
called neutralization.
Acid: An acid is a solution containing a high amount of positively charged ions. Usually this
is hydrogen protons that have lost their electron or hydrogen protons that bonded to other
molecules making them positively charged like hydronium H3O. The more positive the
solution becomes, the more acidic it is. pH is a measure of the number of positively charged
protons or hydrogen ions in the solution. Since pH is represented as a math logarithm, the
higher the number of protons the lower the number of pH. Therefore substances that contain
0-6.9 pH are acids. A pH of 1 is a stronger acid than a pH of 6.5.
Base: A base is a solution that contains less positive charge than it does negative charge. A
solution with more hydroxide ions (OH-) becomes a base because it has more of a negative
charge. Bases have a pH range greater than 7. Bases range from a pH of 7.1 to 14.
Substances that have a pH of 14 are the strongest bases.
Substances that have a pH of 7 are considered neutral because the positive and negative ions
neutralize each other forming salts or do not disassociate (separate into individual ions) at all.
Pure water has a pH of 7, but water in a lake or from your faucet is usually not a neutral pH of
Ionic Bond: The force of attraction between two ions of opposite charge.
Chemical Formula: Shows the number and kinds of atoms present in a molecule.
Structural formula: it shows how the atoms are arranged or in position relative to one
another in the chemical formula.
Chemical Reaction: When two substances combine to form a new substance in the presence
of energy.
Reactants: These are the ingredients in a chemical reaction that change with the use of
energy into a new substance. They are to the left of the arrow.
Products: These are the new substances produced after the chemical reaction occurs. They
are on the right side of the arrow in a chemical reaction.

A physical reaction does not change the reactants into a new substance by forming new
chemical bonds. Instead, they may change shape or form, but keep their same properties

(characteristics such as taste and color).

Mixture: the mixing of two substances without forming a new substance. Each substance
retains (keeps) its own properties.

Heterogeneous Mixture: the substances are unevenly distributed (are not present in equal
proportions) throughout the mixture.

Homogeneous Mixture: the substances are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Therefore, they are present in equal proportions throughout.

Solution: Any homogeneous mixture, but is usually a term that refers to liquids. For example,
saltwater. The salt is dissolved evenly throughout the water.

Solute: is the substance that is added or pollutes the liquid. For example, salt.

Solvent: is the liquid that solutes such as salt are dissolved into. An example could be water
or saliva.

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