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It is a well-known fact that mathematics, chemistry, and physics play a major role at all levels of education, regardless of the profile, the above mentioned serve as the basis. Knowledge of chemistry, mathematics and other natural sciences is becoming increasingly necessary in professional activity and, in particular, in practical implementation. Fundamentals of chemistry represent a synthesis of common concepts and laws of chemistry that are closely related to the structure of the atom, the periodic table of Mendeleev, chemical bonding elements, as well as general concepts. The present study is an attempt to give a modern and systematic exposition of general chemistry’s fundamentals.
Chemistry as a Science
Chemistry is the science that tends to explain the structure of materials, their properties, and transformations. Broadly speaking, the material can be any kind of matter, possessing its own weight, such as elementary particles. The chemical substance is a narrower concept that is any collection of atoms and molecules. Transformation of substances, accompanied by changes in the composition of molecules, is called chemical reactions (Rizzo, 2015). Traditional chemistry studies the reactions that occur at the macroscopic level (in the laboratory or the outside world) and interprets them at the atomic and molecular level. For example, it is known, that the sulfur burns in air with a blue flame, living behind a pungent smell.
Modern chemistry studies chemical reactions, involving individual molecules with well-defined energy. Using this, people can control the flow of chemical reactions by feeding energy in certain areas of the molecule. Many findings reveal that control of chemical processes at the molecular level is one of the main features of modern chemistry (Rizzo, 2015). Chemistry is extremely versatile and productive science, as a method of studying the chemical properties and structure of materials. To date, there are about 15 million organic and about half inorganic substances, each of which can enter into dozens of reactions, and each has an internal structure (Rizzo, 2015). Internal structure determines chemical properties; in turn, chemical properties can be often judged based on the structure of substances.
Modern chemistry is very diverse, both in facilities and the methods of study that many of its sections are independent sciences. The interaction of chemistry and physics gives just two sciences: physical chemistry and chemical physics, and these sciences, despite the similarity of names, learn completely different objects. Physical chemistry investigates substances, consisting of a large number of atoms and molecules, with the help of physical methods and based on the laws of physics. Chemical physics makes an emphasis on the physical study of elementary chemical processes and molecular structure.
One of the best areas of chemistry is biochemistry - the science that studies the chemical basis of life (Rizzo, 2015). Extremely interesting results were obtained in the field of space chemistry, which deals with chemical processes that take place on the planets and stars and in interstellar space. Furthermore, the youngest area of chemistry is mathematical chemistry that uses mathematical methods for the treatment of chemical laws, finds connections between the structure and properties of substances, and counts the number of isomers of organic compounds. Innovative chemistry closely interacts with all other areas of science. No serious chemical research is complete without the use of physical methods to determine the structure of substances and mathematical methods for the analysis of results. The study asserts that the basis of chemistry is made up of atomic-molecular theory, the theory of structure of atoms and molecules, the law of conservation of mass and energy, and the periodic law (Rizzo, 2015).
Substances in Chemistry
In accordance with the classical scientific views, scientists determine two physical forms of existence of matter - matter and field. Thus, substances are the different types of matter in motion. The substance consists of particles, the rest mass of which is not zero and all of them are corpuscle. The field is characterized by continuity, and they are known as electromagnetic and gravitational fields. A homogeneous substance has a density – ratio weight of substance to its volume: ρ = m / V, where ρ, m and V - respectively the density, mass and volume of the substance (Rizzo, 2015). All chemicals can exist in three states - solid, liquid and gaseous. Thus, the ice, liquid water and water vapor are solid, liquid and gaseous states of the same chemical - H2O (water). Solid, solid, liquid and gaseous forms are not individual characteristics of substances, and represent only different, depending on the external physical conditions of existence of states of chemicals. Each of these conditions can go at any of the three states of aggregation.
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Processes in chemicals or in mixtures of various substances are chemical reactions that produce new forms of substances. Chemical reactions identify and characterize the chemical properties of substance. The starting materials, taken to a chemical reaction, are called reagents, and new substances, produced as a result of chemical reaction are reaction products. In general, the chemical reaction depicts as follows: Reagents → reaction products. Chemical reactions are always accompanied by physical effects of transfer: absorption and release of energy (Rizzo, 2015). The chemical processes that occur in a substance are characterized by physical processes and by nuclear transformation (Rizzo, 2015). The chemical reactions obtained a new material with excellent properties of reagents, but never make atoms of the new element.
Chemical reactions help to receive important substances, which are found in a limited number in nature, such as nitrogen fertilizers, sulfonamides, synthetic drugs, polyethylene, and other plastics. Therefore, chemistry makes it possible to synthesize new, unknown nature of the substance that is necessary for human life. However, intensive chemical effects on the environment can lead to a violation of established natural chemical cycles, making actual environmental problems.
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Simple and Complex Matter
Among the pure substances, the science of chemistry distinguishes simple and complex substances. Complex substances are composed of atoms of different elements. Simple substances should be distinguished from the concepts of “atom” and “chemical element“. Rizzo (2015) asserts that simple substances are forms of existence of elements in free form - each element corresponds to a few simple substances (allotropic forms), which may vary in composition. Complex substances are known as chemical compounds. This term means that the substance can be obtained by chemical reactions of compounds from simple substances to chemical synthesis. Simple substances are a finite form of chemical decomposition of complex substances. Complex substances, produced from simple substances, do not retain the chemical properties of components substances.
Thus, if simple substances are involved in chemical reactions and reagents, they will always be converted to the complex ones. The mass of the resulting chemical compound is always greater than the mass of the original element in a free form, as the last is added as a minimum mass of the other element. Currently, the concept “synthesis” and “analysis” are used in a broader sense. Thus, the synthesis includes any chemical process that results in the desired substance. The analysis is considered to be any chemical process that allows determining a qualitative and quantitative composition of substance or mixture of substances.
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Knowledge of chemistry is really necessary at the professional activity and in the practical implementation. Fundamentals of chemistry represent a synthesis of common concepts and laws of chemistry. It is a complex science that requires the vast knowledge of structure of the atom, the periodic table of Mendeleev, chemical bonding elements, as well as other general concepts.