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Introduction to Chemistry



An introduction to chemistry provides the fundamentals of learning about the building blocks of substances. Chemistry is a branch of science that describes matter and how matter behaves and transforms into new materials. Chemists, like all scientists, generally follow a systematic procedure called the scientific method when studying different types of matter and how it changes. Chemistry explains how matter can be classified as elements, compounds, and mixtures. Recognizing the properties of substances based on their structures leads to an understanding of the changes substances undergo and the uses they have. An understanding of these basic concepts can lead to a more detailed study of the scientific discipline of chemistry.

At A Glance

  • The scientific method includes asking a question, doing background study, formulating a hypothesis, experimenting, analyzing results, confirming or correcting the hypothesis, and reporting the results.
  • Matter is most often observed in four states. Solids have a definite shape and volume. Liquids have a definite volume but not a definite shape. Gases have neither a definite volume nor a definite shape. Plasmas are gases of positive ions and free electrons.
  • Matter can be classified as pure substances or mixtures. Substances are evenly distributed in homogeneous mixtures but unevenly distributed in heterogeneous mixtures.
  • Physical properties can be observed without affecting the chemical composition of a substance. A chemical property can be observed only during a change in the chemical composition of a substance.
  • In a chemical reaction, atoms of one or more substances rearrange to form one or more different substances.