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Basic Chemistry Notes

• Everyting is made up of elements. The

periodic table lists and organizes these
elements according to their composition
• Elements are made up of atoms
• All atoms are made of the following:
– protons=positively charged, found in nucleus
– neutrons=NO charge, found in nucleus
– electrons=negatively charged, orbit the nucleus
Atomic Parts
• Nucleus-determines the mass of the atom
(electron mass is negligible).
• Atomic number=number of protons
• Atomic Mass (Mass number)=number of
protons+number of neutrons
• Electron cloud is composed of layers (like
onion skin). These are called Energy levels
or shells.
• Shell 1=2 electrons, shell 2=8 electrons,
shell 3=18 electrons
Changes to Atoms
• “Elemental” Atoms are found on the periodic
table, but these are actually the most common
isotopes of the atoms
• Isotope-”iso”=same, same element, different
numbers of neutrons.
– Half-life of radioisotopes=amount of time it takes for
half of a sample to decay (see overhead)
• Ion=charged particles which have gained or lost
Atomic Stability
• Octet rule: Atoms need 8 electrons or a full
outer shell to be stable
• Atoms that don’t have the octet tend to be
very reactive
• The number or electrons needed to get the
octet is known as the atom’s valence, which
tells us the number of bonds the atom will
make (atoms pick up, release, or share
electrons when bonding)
Solutions and pH
• Solution-one thing distributed evenly in another
(must use physical properties to separate them)
• Water dissociation (see overhead)
– causes H+ and OH- ions
– H+ means the solution is acidic
– OH-means the solution is basic
• pH scale measures how acidic or basic a solution
– 0-6.99=acidic, 0 being the most acidic
– 7=neutral
– 7.1-14=basic, 14 being the most basic
Water’s Properties
• Polarity=slightly positive and negative ends
which makes it a good solvent for other
polar things
• This also allows water to make Hydrogen
bonds (weak attractive forces between
Hydrogens in different molecules)
• This gives water special properties
– Capillary action
– Stabilizing temperature
– Expanding when it freezes
Biochemistry notes
• Carbon-the backbone for organic molecules
– organic is carbon-based chemistry
– biochemistry is the organic chemistry of living things
• Biochemicals are chains of smaller molecules
or subunits
• Polymer=chain of molecules
• Monomer=1 small molecule that makes up a

Sugars (end in -ose) and Starches
• Sugars tend to be simple chains or rings of carbons
(monosaccharides, disaccharides), while starches are long,
branching chains of sugars (polysaccharides).
• Sugars can be simple (single subunit), or more complex
(multiple subunits)
• Sugars are ready, useable energy
• Starches are short-term energy storage molecules
(glycogen in animals, cellulose in plants)
• All carbohydrates have the formula CxH2xOx
• Fats, Waxes, and Oils
• Made up of fatty acids (monomer) The polymer is
a triglyceride (E-shaped molecule)
• These are the long-term energy storage molecules.
• Also used for waterproofing and insulation
• Still contain C and H, but have far less O than
Nucleic Acids
• Chains of nucleotides
• Nucleotides are composed of
– a phosphate
– a sugar (deoxyribose in DNA, ribose in RNA)
– a nitrogenous base (adenine, thymine, guanine,
cytosine, uracil)
• The order of the nucleotides contains the
code for building the components of living
• Are chains of amino acids (held together by
peptide bonds)
• Order of amino acids is important, as this
determines the shape of the molecule.
• Shape determines how the protein works-
particularly w/ enzymes
• Uses: immunity, structure, cell
communication/marking, enzymes, carrying
oxygen in the blood, regulating blood sugar.
• Enzymes Lower the activation energy of reactions
(they help the reaction begin quickly)
• These are usually proteins, which means that their
shape is important. In fact, the shape makes them
only capable of interacting with specific substrates
• Substrate=that which is put together or broken
down by enzymes
• Enzymes are NOT consumed by the reactions they
catalyze (speed up)
Activation Energy Graphs
Enzymes, Continued
• Several things control and enzyme’s
– Concentration of substrates or enzymes
– pH
– Temperature
• Enzymes changing shape because of
temperature or pH changes=denaturing