Basic chemistry concepts for engineering

Basic Chemistry Concepts for Engineering

Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table

  • Atoms: The smallest units of matter, consisting of a nucleus and orbiting electrons.
  • Elements: Pure substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances through chemical reactions.
  • Periodic Table: A chart that organises elements by atomic number, electron configuration and recurring properties.
  • Molecules: Two or more atoms that have chemically bonded together.

Bonding and Properties of Matter

  • Ionic Bonding: Transfer of electrons between atoms, typically between metals and non-metals creating charged ions.
  • Covalent Bonding: Sharing of electrons between atoms, usually occurs between non-metal atoms.
  • Metallic Bonding: Attraction between positive metal ions and delocalised electrons.
  • Polymers: Large molecules made up of repeating units and have properties useful in engineering, such as plasticity and resistance.

Chemical Reactions and Balancing Equations

  • Chemical Reactions: Process that leads to transformation of one set of chemical substances to another, which includes combustion, neutralisation, and oxidation reactions.
  • Balanced Equations: Equations that have an equal amount of atoms for each element in both the reactants and products.
  • Reaction Rates: The speed at which a chemical process occurs, it can be influenced by factors such as temperature and concentration.

Energy Changes in Reactions

  • Exothermic Reactions: Reactions that release energy in the form of heat.
  • Endothermic Reactions: Reactions that absorb energy from their surroundings.
  • Activation Energy: The minimum amount of energy required to start a chemical reaction.

Acids, Bases and Salts

  • Acids: Substances that donate hydrogen ions when in a solution, they have a pH less than 7.
  • Bases: Substances that can accept hydrogen ions, usually have a pH greater than 7.
  • Salts: The product of a reaction between an acid and a base.
  • pH Scale: A scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.

Learning these key principles of chemistry not only supports the understanding of material properties, chemical processes, and energy conversions in engineering but also constitutes a core part of fundamental scientific knowledge.