Drawing Isomers

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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

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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) […]

Flow chart for classification of matter

Classification of Matter

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Pure substance and mixture. Element and compound. Homogeneous mixture and heterogeneous mixture. How are they different? Does it MATTER? Yes! WHY? How to classify them? You’re in luck! Ask two questions and you can easily classify matter into element, compound, homogeneous mixture and heterogeneous mixture. Let me show you how. Let’s classify one of the recipe I’m going to try. Looks like I’ll be grilling the seasoned chicken on aluminum pan and cover it with aluminum foil. Before that, I’ll need to season it with salt, tumeric powder and other spices. Let’s start with aluminum foil. Refer to the flow chart at the top for the series of questions and classification.  The first question we should always ask is, “Does it have fixed composition?” Do we know what aluminum foil is made out of? Yea, it’s […]

Easy way to classify if a change is physical or chemical change.

Changes…Changes…Changes…Is it Physical or Chemical?

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Are you curious if the changes that occur around you is physical or chemical? What’s the difference between physical and chemical change? It all lies in whether a new substance was formed during the change (refer to the flowchart above).  If a new substance is formed, then the change is chemical. Otherwise, the change is physical. Here’s a more thorough list defining both changes: I walked through examples from my morning routine and classified them as physical and chemical changes in this video: Want to test out your skills? Each practice set consists of 5 questions. Practice #1 Practice #2 Practice #3