Chemistry Glossary

by Powell

Below is a list of chemistry terms with a brief definition.

acid – a chemical species that accepts electrons or donate protons or hydrogen ions.
acid-base indicator – a weak acid or weak base that changes color when the concentration of hydrogen or hydroxide ions changes in an aqueous solution.
air – the mixture of gases that make up the Earth’s atmosphere, consisting mainly of nitrogen, with oxygen, water vapor, argon, and carbon dioxide.
alkaline – an aqueous solution with a pH greater than 7.
alkene – a hydrocarbon containing a double carbon-carbon bond.
aqueous solution – a solution in which water is the solvent.
atomic number – the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom of an element.
Avogadro’s Law – relation that states equal volumes of all gases contain the same number of molecules at the same pressure and temperature.
Avogadro’s number – the number of particles in one mole of a substance; 6.0221 x 1023

balanced equation – chemical equation in which the number and type of atoms and the electric charge is the same on both the reactant and product sides of the equation.

barium – alkaline earth metal with element symbol Ba and atomic number 56.

beryllium – alkaline earth metal with element symbol Be and atomic number 4.

beta decay – type of radioactive decay that results in spontaneous emission of a beta particle.

beta particle – an electron or positron emitted during beta decay.

beta radiation – ionizing radiation from beta decay in the form of an energetic electron or positron.

binary acid – an acidic binary compound in which one element is hydrogen and the other element is another nonmetal.

binary compound – a compound made up of two elements (e.g., HF).

binding energy – energy needed to remove an electron from an atom or to separate a proton or neutron from the atomic nucleus.

biochemistry – Biochemistry is the chemistry of living things.

bismuth – Bismuth is the name for the element with atomic number 83 and is represented by the symbol Bi. It is a member of the metal group.

bitumen – natural mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

black light – a lamp that emits ultraviolet radiation or the invisible radiation emitted by it.

block copolymer – copolymer formed by repeating monomer subunits.

boiling – phase transition from the liquid to gas state.

boiling point – temperature at which a liquid’s vapor pressure is equal to the external gas pressure.

boiling point elevation – the increase in a liquid boiling point caused by adding another compound to it.

bond – a chemical link formed between atoms in molecules and molecules and ions in crystals.

bond order – a measure of the number of electrons involved in chemical bonds between two atoms in a molecule; usually equal to the number of bonds between the atoms.

boron – Boron is the name for the element with atomic number 5 and is represented by the symbol B. It is a member of the semimetal group.

branched chain alkane – an alkane with alkyl groups bonded to the central carbon chain. The molecules are branched, but all C-C bonds are single bonds.

brass – Brass is defined as an alloy of copper and zinc.

bromine – Bromine is the name for the element with atomic number 35 and is represented by the symbol Br. It is a member of the halogen group.

bronze – Bronze is an alloy of copper, usually containing tin as its main addition.

conservation of energy – law which states energy can change forms but may not be created or destroyed.

conservation of mass – law that states, in a closed system, matter can change forms but not be created or destroyed.

copper – Copper is the name for the element with atomic number 29 and is represented by the symbol Cu. It is a member of the transition metals group.

covalent bond – chemical link between atoms or ions in which the electron pairs are more or less evenly shared between them.

covalent compound – molecule that contains covalent chemical bonds.

electron – stable negatively charged subatomic particle.

energy – the ability to do work (e.g., kinetic energy, light).

emulsifier – stabilizing agent that prevents immiscible liquids from separating.

exothermic reaction – a chemical reaction that releases heat.

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