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MCAT: General Chemistry – Atoms and the Periodic Table

Chapter 2: Matter
Atoms – The Basic Units of Elements and Compounds
 In normal chemical reactions, atoms retain their identity
 Elements: matter that is made up of only one type of atom; building blocks or more complex matter
 Compounds: matter formed by the combination of 2 or more elements in fixed ratio (Ex: H 2O2)
 Mixtures: a combination of different elements, or a combination of elements and compounds, or a combination of different compounds
(Ex: an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide KOH + H2O

Pure Substances Physical Changes Mixtures

Homogenous Heterogenous
Elements Chemical Changes Compounds Mixtures Mixtures

 Dalton’s Atomic Theory:
o 1803: John Dalton proposes the atomic theory of matter
o Matter is composed of indivisible particles, atoms
o An element is composed of only kind of atoms. These atoms in a particular element have the same properties such as mass, size, or
even shape.
o A compound is composed of 2 or more elements combined in fixed ratios or proportions
o In a chemical reaction, the atoms in the reactants combine, resulting in products which represent the combination of atoms present
in the reactants. In the process, atoms are neither created, nor destroyed; so a chemical reaction is essentially a rearrangement of
 Ramifications of Dalton’s Theory:
o Consistent with the law of conservation of mass
o Also accounts for the law of definite proportions and multiple proportions
Structure of the Atom:
 Nucleus contains protons and neutrons, whirling about the nucleus are particles called electrons
Particle Absolute Charge (C) Relative Charge Mass (kg)
Neutron 0 0 1.675 × 10−27
Proton +1.6 × 10−19 +1 1.673 × 10−27
Electron −1.6 × 10−19 -1 9.11 × 10−31
Electrons and Nucleons:
 In the late 19th century, scientists conducted experiments with gas discharge tubes, and found that atoms are divisible
 The gas discharge tube is an evacuated glass tube and has 2 electrodes, a cathode (-) and an anode (+)
 The electrodes are connected to a high voltage source
 In the tube, an electric discharge occurs between the electrodes. The discharge or ‘rays’ originate from the cathode and move towards the
anode. Luminescent techniques are used to make the cathode rays visible
 Rays are deflected away from negatively charged plates
 J.J. Thompson concluded that the cathode ray consists of electrons
 Charge of Electrons:
o R.A. Millikan – Oil Drop Experiments
charge coulombs −1.6×10−19
o = −1.76 × 108 mass = = 9.11 × 10−23 g = 9.11 × 10−31 kg
mass gram −1.76×108
o A proton is about 1800x more massive than an electron
 Beyond Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons
o The fundamental particles—electrons, protons, and neutrons—can be broken down into smaller sub-fundamental particles, called
Molecules and Moles:
 Atomic # - the number of protons in an atom’s nucleus (LEFT BOTTOM #)
 Mass # - the number of protons and neutrons (LEFT TOP #)
 Protons and neutrons = nucleons
 𝑀𝐴𝑆𝑆 # 27
Ex: 𝐴𝑇𝑂𝑀𝐼𝐶 # 13𝐴𝑙
 Isotopes: - same atomic #, different mass #s
 Atomic Weight – average weight of all the isotopic masses of the element, calculated on the basis of their relative abundance in nature;
set on a carbon-12 scale
o 12 atomic mass units (amu) make up the mass of one atom of 126C isotope
o 1 amu = 1/12 the mass of one carbon-12 atom
o atomic weight of carbon-12 is 12 amu
 Molecules – set or group of atoms which are chemically bonded
 Molecular Weight – sum of the atomic weights of all atoms in that molecule; also known as formula weight
o Ex: Calculate the molecular weight of sulfuric acid (H2SO4)
 2 H  2x1= 2 || 1 S  1x32= 32 || 4 O  4x16= 64
 Total: 2+32+64= 98 g/mol
o Ex: Calculate the molecular weight of carbon dioxide (CO2)
 1 C  1x12= 12 || 2 O  2X16= 32
 Total: 12+32= 44 g/mol
 Empirical Formula – the lowest whole number ratio of the atoms present in the molecule
o Ex: Write the empirical formula for the following molecules:
 H2O2  HO
 C2H6  CH3
 H2O  H2O
 The Mole – The quantity of a givens substance that contains as many units or molecules as the number of atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12
o Molar Mass – the mass of one mole of a substance
o The number of atoms in 12 g of carbon-12 is represented by Avogadro’s number (6.022 x 1023)
 Ex: Calculate the mass of one molecule of sodium hydroxide, NaOH
 Na – 23 | O – 16 | H – 1
 Total: 40 g/mol  = 6.64 × 10−23 g
 Ex: Calculate the number of moles in 109.5g of hydrogen chloride, HCl
1 mol HCl
 109.5g HCl ∗ = 3 mol HCl
36.5g HCl
 Ex: Calculate the number of grams in 8mol of sulfur dioxide, SO 2
64g SO2
 8 mol SO2 ∗ = 512g SO2
1mol SO2
Percent Composition and Density
 Percent Composition – percentage contribution by weight of each element to the total mass
o Ex: Calculate the percentage composition of each element in calcium carbonate, CaCO3
Percentage composition of each
# of atoms per molecule Molecular weight of the atoms Total mass of the element per mol
1 Calcium 1 x 40.1g 40.1g % 𝑜𝑓 𝐶𝑎 = × 100 = 40.1%
1 Carbon 1 x 12.0g 12.0g % 𝑜𝑓 𝐶 = × 100 = 12%
3 Oxygen 3 x 16.0g 48.0g % 𝑜𝑓 𝑂 = × 100 = 47.9%
Total: 100.1g 100%
 Predicting Formulas from Percentage Compostions
o Ex: Predict the simplest ratio or formula of the following compound: a carbon compound contains 27.27% carbon and 72.73% oxygen
by mas.
 Step 1: Consider you have 100g of the compound; therefore, you have 27.27g of carbon, and 72.73g of oxygen
mol C mol O
 Step 2: Calculate the mol: # of C mol = 27.27g C ∗ = 𝟐. 𝟐𝟕𝟓 𝐦𝐨𝐥 𝐂 || # of O mol = 72.73 g O ∗ = 𝟒. 𝟓𝟒𝟔 𝐦𝐨𝐥 𝐎
12g C 16 g O
 Step 3: Divide every # of moles with the smallest number of moles found on any element
𝟐.𝟐𝟕𝟓 𝐦𝐨𝐥 𝟒.𝟓𝟒𝟔 𝐦𝐨𝐥
 Carbon: = 𝟏 Oxygen: = =𝟐
𝟐.𝟐𝟕𝟓 𝐦𝐨𝐥 𝟐.𝟐𝟕𝟓 𝐦𝐨𝐥
 Step 4: Since the ratio of carbon to oxygen is 1:2, the compound is CO2
o Ex: Calculate the mass of sulfur in 150g of H2SO4
 % of Sulfur= 31.2/98 x 100= 33%
 150 x 33%= 49.5g
 Density – mass per unit volume
o The density of a pure substance in its solid state is a constant
o Ex: Calculate the volume occupied by 320g of CCl4
mass mass 320g
 density = volume = = = 200ml
volume density 1.6 g/ml
o Ex: Calculate the density of mercury in a 20ml sample that has a mass of 271g
mass 271g
 density = = = 13.55g/mol
volume 20ml
Chapter 3: Electronic Structure
Atomic Structure
 In various experiments, atoms were made to be thermally or electrically excited, and this resulted in different kinds of bands or lines on
photographic plates
 Electromagnetic waves
o All electromagnetic radiation travels with a constant speed of 3x10 8m/s
o The Wave Nature
 Light has wave nature: it has electrical and magnetic fields which are perpendicular to each other, and can travel thru space with
no medium required
 Wavelength: the distance between 2 adjacent crests or troughs, or any 2 adjacent identical points on a wave
 Frequency: the number of wavelengths passing thru a point in unit time
 Velocity = frequency x wavelength
 The Particle Nature and Quantum Theory
o Quanta: particles or forms of energy
o Photon: particle of light
o Energy=hxf
 h = Planck’s constant (6.63x10-34J*s)
 f = frequency
o For light traveling in a vacuum, its velocity is the constant c
o According to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, we cannot determine both the momentum and the position of subatomic particles
 Photoelectric Effect – the ejection of electrons from a metal surface when light rays strike it
o Only occurs if the incident light has a certain minimum or threshold frequency, which is specific to each metal
o The photoelectrons emitted with maximum energy do not have the full energy equivalent supplied by the incident photon, because
energy (called work function) is required to break loose the electrons from the surface of the metal
o The photoelectrons can be accelerated to a positively charged plate, creating a flow of charges along a wire-photo-current
o The maximum kinetic energy (Kmax) of a photoelectron is given by: Kmax=1/2m(vmax)2=hf-
 m: mass of an electron || vmax: maximum velocity of the electrons || h: Planck’s constant || f: frequency of the incident light || :
work function of the metal || hf: energy of the incident photon
 Key Observations of Photoelectric Effect
o The photoelectric effect exemplifies the particle nature of light
o Based on conservation of energy, no photoelectron can have energy more than that of an incident photon
o The energy of the photoelectron is always less than that of the incident photons, because some energy is required to break the
electrons loose
o The maximum energy of the photoelectrons is independent of the intensity of the incident light
o Electrons are not ejected no matter how high the intensity of the incident light is, unless the incident light has the enrgy
corresponding to the threshold frequency characteristic of a particular metal
 Atomic Emission Spectra
o When white light is passed thru a prism, the dispersion of the light results in a continuous spectrum of wavelengths
o When heated gas emits light, another type of spectrum—a line spectrum—results
 Line spectrum contain only certain specific wavelengths of light
1 𝑅 1 1
o Wavelengths in the visible spectrum: = ( − )
𝜆 ℎ𝑐 4 𝑛2
 =wavelength || R=Rydberg constant (2.18x10 J) || h=Planck’s constant (6.63x10-34J*s) || c=speed of light (3x108 m/s) || n=a whole

# greater than 2, which corresponds to the orbit-number from which the electron is making the transition (Ex: if the transition of
an electron is from orbit number 4 to 2, the n value is 4)
 Bohr’s Model of Hydrogen Atom
o In each hydrogen atom, the electron revolves around the nucleus in one of the several stable orbits
o Each orbit has a definite radius, and thus has a definitive energy associated with it
o An electron in an orbit closest to the nucleus has the lowest energy, and if the electron is in the lower orbit the atom is said to be in its
ground state
o The electron in an atomy may absorb discrete amounts of energy and move to another orbit with higher energy, and this state is
called the excited state
o The electron in an excited atom can go back to a lower energy level and this process will result in the release of excess energy as light
o The amount of energy released or absorbed is equal to the difference between the energies of the initial and final orbits
o Light energy is emitted when an electron in a higher energy level jumps to a lower energy level
o Efinal + hf = Einitial
o Transitions of the electron in the hydrogen atom result in different spectral lines
1 1
o Energy of the emitted photon: ℎ𝑓 = 𝑅( 2 − 2 ); the enrgy of the emitted photon is equal to the difference in energy between
𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙
the 2 energy levels
Quantum Numbers
 Principle quantum number (n): denotes the energy level of electrons Letter K L M N…
o The larger the number, the larger the energy n 1 2 3 4…
o The smaller the number, the smaller the energy
 Angular momentum quantum number (l): denotes the shape of the orbital
o Values range from 0 to n-1, where n is principle quantum number
Orbital s P d f…
o Correspond to different subshells
o Also called azimuthal quantum number 1 0 1 2 3…
Ex: 3d  a subshell with quantum numbers n=3 and l=2
 Magnetic quantum number (m1): define the different spatial orientations of the orbitals
o The value from –l to +l and 0
o Ex: if the l value is 5, the m1 would be: -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5
 Spin quantum number (m2): defines the spin orientation
o Two possible spins: +1/2 and -1/2

Electronic Configuration
 Ground state configuration: the electronic configuration at the lowest energy state
 Aufbau principle: the filling order of electrons obeys a general pattern in which the electrons try to occupy the orbitals in such a way as to
minimize the total energy, that is they occupy the lowest energy orbital first and then step-by-step go to the next available higher energy
levels successively
 General filling: 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f, 5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p, 8s, …

 An s orbital is spherical in shape. All p orbitals have a dumbbell shape with two lobes aligned along an axis. All d orbitals have slightly
complex shapes. Each orbital can accommodate a maximum of 2 electrons
 Hence, an s subshell (one orbital) can accommodate a maximum of 2 electrons. A p subshell, with 3 orbitals, can accommodate 6
electrons. A d subshell, with 5 orbitals, can accommodate 10 electrons. And, an f subshell—which has 7 orbitals—can accommodate 14
 The maximum number of electrons that can occupy the principal energy level is calculated using the formula 2n 2.

 Example Questions:
o Write the electronic configuration of lithium
 Lithium || Atomic Number: 3  3 electrons: 1s11s22s1 || The configuration of lithium is 1s22s1.
o Write the electronic configuration of oxygen in its ground state form
 Oxygen || Atomic Number: 8  8 electrons: 1s11s22s12s22p12p22p32p4 || The configuration of oxygen is 1s22s22p4.
 Hund’s Rule: each electron starts filling up each orbital of a given subshell, after all the orbitals in a given subshell have been filled singly
(half-filled), then the electrons start pairing.
o Example Qs:
 Write the electronic configuration of sulfur and also show the filling of electrons with orbital notation
 Sulfur: 16 electrons || Electronic configuration: 1s22s22p63s23p4
 Significance of Hund’s rule: 3p subshell of sulfur – [↿⇂] [↿ ] [↿ ] where ↿ denotes unpaired electron and ↿⇂ denotes paired
o Substances that have only paired electrons are called diamagnetic. Substances that have unpaired electrons are called paramagnetic.
The unpaired electron(s) od paramagnetic substances create a net magnetic dipole moment, causing an attractive force oriented in
the direction of an external magnetic field.
Chapter 4: The Periodic Table
The Periodic Table

 Groups – vertical columns

o Groups IA-VIIA are the main group, representative elements
o Metallic character increases from top to bottom of a group
 Periods – horizontal rows
o Metallic character decreases from left to right along a period
 Group IA: Alkali Metals
o Hydrogen, Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Cesium, and Francium
o They react with water to form alkaline solutions
o The reactivity of alkali metals to water increases from top to bottom of the periodic table
o They can also form oxides, and a variety of other compounds, because of their high reactivity
o Good electrical and thermal conductors
o All have one valence electron in their outer most shell, which is in the s orbital in the ground state
o Usually exhibit an oxidation state of +1
o Valence shell configuration of ns1
 Group IIA: Alkaline Earth Metals
o Beryllium, Magnesium, Calcium, Strontium, Barium, Radium
o Their oxides are basic
o Oxidation state of +2
o Valence shell configuration of ns2
o Not as reactive as alkali metals
 Group IIIA
o Boron, Aluminum, Gallium, Indium, and Thallium
o Oxidation states of +1 and +3
o Valence shell configuration of ns2np1
 Group IVA: Carbon Family
o Carbon, Silicon, Germanium, Tin, Lead
o All form oxides that look like CO2 and monoxides
o Valence shell configuration: ns2np2
 Group VA: Nitrogen Family
o Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Arsenic, Antimony, Bismuth
o Valence shell configuration: ns2np3
 Group VIA
o Oxygen, Sulfur, Selenium, Tellurium, Polonium
o Valence shell configuration: ns2np4
 Group VIIA: Halogens
o Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine, Astatine
o Highly reactive nonmetals
o Form diatomic molecules
o Form hydrogen halides which are very acidic, that can dissolve in water to form aqueous acids
o Valence shell configuration: ns2np5
 Group VIIIA: Noble Gases
o Helium, Neon, Argon, Krypton, Xenon, Radon
o Extremely unreactive
o Called inert gases
o Valence shell configuration: ns2np6
Periodic Trends
 Effective Nuclear Charge – net positive charge experienced by valence electrons due to the protons in the nucleus
o Zeff= Z – S , where Z is the atomic # and S is the number of non-valence electrons
 Atomic Size 
o From left to right along a period, the atomic radius decreases, as the atomic number increases
o Along a group from top to bottom, the atomic radius increases
 Ionic Radius
o Negatively charged ions have bigger ionic radii than the corresponding neutral atoms
o Positively charged ions have smaller ionic radii than the corresponding neutral atoms
 Ionization Energy (IE) 
o Generally, along a period from left to right, the ionization energy increases with increasing atomic number
o The ionization energy decreases from top to bottom along a group as the atomic size increases
 Electron Affinity – The change in the amount (energy either release or absorbed) of energy for the process of adding an electron to an
atom (neutral) in its gaseous state, resulting in an ion of -1 charge. 
o The electron affinity increases or in other words, the magnitude of the electron affinity increases both left to right along a period and
up along a group
 Electronegativity – the relative tendency of an atomy to attract the bonding electrons to itself 
o Generally, electronegativity increases from left to right along a period
o Electronegativity decreases down a group from top to bottom