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Resources for learning Chemistry

Based on various other Stack exchange site (Mandarin Chinese, Russian and German), we adapt this project here for chemistry, since it's a great idea to have all kinds of resources in one place. This ...
63
votes
1answer
9k views

Why does F replace the axial bond in PCl5?

Why does $\ce{F}$ replace an axial bond in $\ce{PCl5}$? I realize that it would be more stable there than at equatorial bond, but what is the reason of its stability? Similarly in $\ce{AB4}$ type of ...
66
votes
4answers
30k views

Why do elements in columns 6 and 11 assume 'abnormal' electron configurations?

When I look around for why copper and chromium only have one electron in their outermost s orbital and 5/10 in their outermost d orbital, I'm bombarded with the fact that they are more stable with a ...
44
votes
4answers
7k views

What is resonance, and are resonance structures real?

My teacher told me about resonance and explained it as different structures which are flipping back and forth and that we only observe a sort of average structure. How does this work? Why do the ...
73
votes
7answers
50k views

Ortho-effect in substituted aromatic acids and bases

When comparing o,m,p-toluidine basicities, the ortho effect is believed to explain why o-toluidine is weaker. But when comparing o,m,p-toluic acid basicities, the ortho effect is stated as a reason ...
88
votes
2answers
34k views

What is Bent's rule?

I'm all bent out of shape trying to figure out what Bent's rule means. I have several formulations of it, and the most common formulation is also the hardest to understand. Atomic s character ...
176
votes
8answers
154k views

Can an atom have more than 8 valence electrons? If not, why is 8 the limit?

According to some chemistry textbooks, the maximum number of valence electrons for an atom is 8, but the reason for this is not explained. So, can an atom have more than 8 valence electrons? If ...
65
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is it wrong to use the concept of hybridization for transition metal complexes?

I have asked a lot of questions on coordination chemistry here before and I have gone through a lot others here as well. Students, including me, attempt to answer those questions using the concept of ...
30
votes
2answers
33k views

Why does the 3rd electron shell start filling up with scandium?

The electron configuration of calcium is 2, 8, 8, 2, where up to that point each shell, asides from the first shell counts up to 8 - why then does scandium have an electron configuration of 2, 8, 9, 2?...
39
votes
2answers
21k views

How can the dipole moment of carbon monoxide be rationalised by molecular orbital theory?

Despite the fact that oxygen is much more electronegative than carbon, the bond in $\ce{CO}$ presents a weak dipole moment. This observation can easily be explained using the concept of "dative bond", ...
53
votes
8answers
35k views

Why do compounds like SF6 and SF4 exist but SH6 and SH4 don't?

Both $\ce{SF6}$ and $\ce{SH6}$ and $\ce{SF4}$ and $\ce{SH4}$ have the same central atom and the same hybridization, but my teacher specifically mentioned that $\ce{SH6}$ and $\ce{SH4}$ don't exist. I'...
23
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1answer
2k views

An introduction to “oxidation state”/“oxidation number”

I just can't get my head around oxidation states. They're really confusing! Why do I need to assign a number to some element? What are oxidation states? How and why should we assign oxidation states? ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

How to set up equation for buffer reaction?

For buffer equations, how can you tell what to react with water? For example, if I have a 1 M acetic acid solution and 1 M sodium acetate solution (a conjugate acid-base pair) mixed together and am ...
46
votes
5answers
11k views

Fundamental forces behind covalent bonding

I understand that covalent bonding is an equilibrium state between attractive and repulsive forces, but which one of fundamental forces actually causes atoms to attract each other? Also, am I right ...
44
votes
3answers
20k views

What is the reason for the exceptional stability of the cyclopropylmethyl carbocation?

Can someone explain this to me by drawing resonance structures for the cyclopropylmethyl carbocation please? Also one more question, is the tricyclopropylmethyl carbocation more stable than tropylium ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Vapor pressure and boiling point for solutions in open containers

Question 1: If we have an open container which has water in it and is heated. If there is no lid over the container then how can this water ever boil as there will be no vapor pressure created over ...
37
votes
4answers
4k views

DFT Functional Selection Criteria

I have a very very general question: In DFT functional selection , mostly people speak about the most recent ones. For example my professor always asks: " which DFT Functional did you select ? " ...
39
votes
2answers
16k views

Why does cyclopropane react with bromine?

In my exam, I was asked why cyclopropane could decolourise bromine water (indicating that it reacted with the bromine). All I could guess was that it is related to the high angle strain in ...
19
votes
1answer
17k views

Is KF the most ionic compound?

I saw somewhere (can't recall where) that KF is the most ionic compound. I expected CsF. Does the greater polarizability of Cs allow it to more easily form covalent bonds compared to K? Does this ...
41
votes
3answers
60k views

How can I predict if a reaction will occur between any two (or more) substances?

I am new to chemistry and I find it fascinating. I am trying to learn about chemical reactions and I was wondering if there was an easy way to quickly tell if any combination of chemical substances ...
236
votes
3answers
32k views

Why is gold golden?

Bulk gold has a very characteristic warm yellow shine to it, whereas almost all other metals have a grey or silvery color. Where does this come from? I have heard that this property arises from ...
18
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the perfect definition for chirality?

Why is chirality defined differently for organic and inorganic compounds? Why are inorganic compounds deemed to be optically active if they have more than one of the same ligands attached to the ...
23
votes
1answer
8k views

How can the intense color of potassium permanganate be explained with molecular orbital theory?

In the permanganate ion, manganese is in the $+7$ oxidation state, therefore it is a $\ce{d^0}$ ion. $\ce{d^0}$ and $\ce{d^1^0}$ ions don't absorb visible spectrum radiation because there are no ...
38
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3answers
30k views

Why is the bond angle H-P-H smaller than H-N-H?

$\ce{N}$ & $\ce{P}$ are in the same group. Both $\ce{NH3}$ and $\ce{PH3}$ have one lone pair and according to VSEPR theory, both the central atoms are predicted to be $\ce{sp^3}$ hybridized. But ...
49
votes
3answers
4k views

Unit of the equilibrium constant: contradiction of Bridgman's theorem?

The following equation is standard in thermodynamics: $$ \Delta G^\circ=-RT\log(K) $$ where $K$ is the equilibrium constant. In dimensional analysis, Bridgman's theorem tells us that the argument ...
35
votes
2answers
27k views

What exactly is hydrogen bonding (and does it really need fluorine, oxygen, or nitrogen)?

I'm not satisfied with the rationale for the intermolecular attraction known as hydrogen bonding. In my book, it states that Hydrogen bonding is a special type of intermolecular attraction between ...
50
votes
4answers
357k views

Why is it important to use a salt bridge in a voltaic cell? Can a wire be used?

I was learning about voltaic cells and came across salt bridges. If the purpose of the salt bridge is only to move electrons from an electrolyte solution to the other, then why can I not use a wire? ...
47
votes
5answers
75k views

Why does bond angle decrease in the order H2O, H2S, H2Se?

I know that bond angle decreases in the order $\ce{H2O}$, $\ce{H2S}$ and $\ce{H2Se}$. I wish to know the reason for this. I think this is because of the lone pair repulsion but how?
25
votes
3answers
19k views

Why are vinylic and arylic carbocations highly unstable?

I have checked the internet and read quite a few books, but I still am not able to understand why vinylic and arylic carbocations are highly unstable. What I found while surfing the internet is: For ...
34
votes
2answers
3k views

Hypervalency and the octet rule

I realize that the octet rule is more a suggestion than a rule, and that it applies mainly to non-transition metal compounds. Still, compounds that don't have an octet, like $\ce{BH3}$, tend to ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Is hydrogen bonding generally defined to include only three period two elements?

Traditionally, hydrogen bonding has been defined to only include interactions between a positively polarized hydrogen and three period-two elements: nitrogen, oxygen, and fluorine. Why was this ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

Understanding group theory easily and quickly [closed]

Please can you explain me the group theory especially the reducible and irreducible representation and class and subclass and how to tell they are in the same group or not. I know it is a tedious task ...
24
votes
5answers
37k views

Bonding in the phosphate ion

I'm looking for an explanation of the bonding in the phosphate (PO43−) ion: (Image courtesy of Wikipedia) Phosphorus (15P) - being the fifteenth element - has fifteen electrons, five valence ...
15
votes
1answer
5k views

Utility of Bent's Rule - What can Bent's rule explain that other qualitative considerations cannot?

Does Bent's rule have any utility? I got a vehement earful for "NO." Points raised by my professor: Coulombic considerations can be used to rationalize bond angles, strengths, and lengths without ...
36
votes
3answers
32k views

What is the difference between ∆G and ∆G°?

In Brady's Molecular Nature of Matter, I read that $\Delta_\mathrm{r} G^{\circ}$ is $\Delta_\mathrm{r} G$ at $25~^\circ\mathrm{C}$. But later, it gives a value for $\Delta_\mathrm{r} G^\circ$ at ...
36
votes
3answers
21k views

IUPAC nomenclature: “Smallest sum of locants”?

While naming any compound, the numbering should be done such that position of substituted groups gives smallest sum. I'm struggling with the IUPAC naming for cyclic compounds. How exactly does this ...
22
votes
1answer
5k views

Molecular chirality and optical rotation

Why does having molecular chirality result in optical rotation? The dissymetry or chirality of molecules translates to the rotation of plane polarized light, the magnitude and direction depending on ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

What makes C=O more stable that C(OH)₂

When there are $2$ hydroxy groups on same carbon, they tend to undergo dehydration ( of course with exceptions like chloral where $\ce H$ bonding prevails). Why does this happen? We are breaking a ...
19
votes
2answers
6k views

Is HF the least acidic hydrogen halide?

Fluorine is the most electronegative halogen and therefore, there is larger difference in electronegativity between the atoms of $\ce{HF}$ than any other hydrogen halide, which means the positive ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Colour intensity of transition metal complexes

Even though they are both $\mathrm{d^7}$ complexes, the colour of $\ce{[Co(H2O)6]^2+}$ is pale whereas that of $\ce{[CoCl4]^2-}$ is more intense. Does the octahedral or tetrahedral geometry matter in ...
87
votes
7answers
124k views

Why is the 2s orbital lower in energy than the 2p orbital when the electrons in 2s are usually farther from the nucleus?

My chemistry book explains that even though electrons in the $\mathrm{2p}$ orbital are closer to the nucleus on average, electrons from the $\mathrm{2s}$ orbital spend a very short time very close to ...
56
votes
3answers
779k views

How do I figure out the hybridization of a particular atom in a molecule?

I'm learning how to apply the VSEPR theory to Lewis structures and in my homework, I'm being asked to provide the hybridization of the central atom in each Lewis structure I've drawn. I've drawn out ...
23
votes
3answers
9k views

What is the physical basis for Hund's first rule?

According to Hund's first rule, a set of degenerate orbitals are singly occupied first, before the second slot in any of the orbitals are populated. This is quite intuitive because electron-electron ...
55
votes
5answers
11k views

The last element's atomic number

I was just thinking what can be the last atomic number that can exist within the range of permissible radioactivity limit and considering all other factors in quantum physics and chemical factors.
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does the reaction quotient use the products (multiplications) of reactants and products, rather than their respective sums?

As you may know, the reaction quotient $Q_c$ is defined by the equation $$ Q_c = \frac{[C]^\gamma [D]^\delta}{[A]^\alpha [B]^\beta} $$ for the chemical reaction $$ \alpha A + \beta B \rightarrow \...
16
votes
1answer
7k views

Calculating the pH of a highly dilute solution of HCl

For relatively high concentrations of $\ce{HCl}$, I usually just assume that $[\ce{H+}] = [\ce{HCl}]$, because $\ce{HCl}$ is a strong acid and is completely ionized in solution. By taking the negative ...
77
votes
4answers
37k views

Bonding in diatomic C2, a carbon-carbon quadruple bond?

Carbon is well known to form single, double, and triple $\ce{C-C}$ bonds in compounds. There is a recent report (2012) that carbon forms a quadruple bond in diatomic carbon, $\ce{C2}$. The excerpt ...
37
votes
2answers
24k views

What do the prefixes meta, ortho, pyro mean in inorganic chemistry?

In inorganic chemistry, when is the prefix meta used? (as in metaborate and metasulphite) What about the terms pyro and ortho (as in orthophosphorous acid)? For example, I recently came to know about ...
32
votes
4answers
61k views

What's the difference between a nucleophile and a base?

Obviously it depends on the context whether you would call a particular species a nucleophile or a base but are the two terms largely synonymous or is there a difference?
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Which equilibrium constant is appropriate to use?

I have learnt that the standard free energy change is related to the equilibrium constant of a reaction by, $$\Delta G^\circ = -RT \ln K$$ Here, does $K$ refer to $K_p$ or $K_c$? Also, please give ...

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