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Drawing Isomers

Drawing isomers is a skill we should expect to develop in a Chemistry class. In case you’re not sure what are isomers, they are basically structures that have the same chemical formula (same number of atoms) but are connected differently, therefore, having different structural formula.  The best way to explain how to draw an isomer is to use an example. In this case, we’re going to use C6H14. A tip (Tip #1) that I find useful when drawing isomers is to identify the functional groups present in the given formula. Looking at C6H14, it basically consists of only carbons and hydrogens, making it a hydrocarbon. Now, which type could it be though – is it an alkane, alkene or alkyne? We can figure out which general formula (alkane, alkene or alkyne) C6H14 fits in. The general […]

SI Prefixes mnemonic

SI Prefixes

Need to convert between prefixes like from picosecond to microsecond? Or kilometer to milimeter? Do you need to memorize the SI prefixes? Find it difficult to remember the letters/symbols, sequence and exponent value? If you answered yes, then you are not alone. My students join you in this struggle. That’s why I developed a mnemonic to help them memorize all 12 prefixes they need for the course. So, here we go, introducing the 12 prefixes: – Tera – Giga – Mega – kilo – hecto – deca – deci – centi – mili – micro – nano – pico – Here’s the thing, each of these prefixes have their own abbreviation/symbol. The first three (Tera, Giga, Mega) are abbreviated with 1 upper case letter (T, G and M, respectively). Then, the rest are 1 lower case letter (k, h, d, c, m, n, p), except deca (da) […]

Density formula

Density – Why should we care?

What is density? It’s mass divided by volume. The more mass you can fit into a fixed space, the denser it is. Let’s say we have two same size boxes. We stuff in feathers in one of the boxes and stones in the other box of the same size. Which is denser? Of course, the box with stones is denser since stones weigh more than feathers. So why is density important? Can you think of an example or two that involve density? Density can affect whether something will float or not (hot air balloon, boat, ice in drinks), which layer will be on top (oil spill in the ocean, lava lamp, vinaigrette), identity/purity of a substance (purity gold), to name a few. It’s present in our daily lives more than we may have realized. I relatedthree […]

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