Elementary Units in Chemical Reactions, Chemistry tutorial


Chemistry is basically the study of matter and chemists in their examinations, study the properties and transformations of matter. Most of the materials that we make use of everyday, directly or indirectly are the products of chemical research and illustrations of helpful products of chemical reactions are boundless.

What then is matter? Matter is something that consists of mass and occupies space. Matter is categorized into solid, liquid and gas.

  • Solids encompass fixed sizes and shapes. Glass, sand and most of the metals are the illustrations of solids.
  • Liquids encompass fixed volumes however no fixed shapes. Liquids take the shape of the containing utensil. Water and kerosene are some of the illustrations of liquids.
  • Gases flow and fill the whole space available. Air and cooking gas are illustrations of gases.

The above categorization is generally termed to as physical classification. Matter can as well be categorized into elements, compounds and mixtures. This later categorization is termed to as chemical classification. This is remarkable that all such substances, solids, liquids, gases, elements, compounds and mixtures are built up from the simple fundamental units.

Elements, Compounds and Mixtures:

The element is a pure substance that cannot be split up into simple substances through a chemical reaction. A pure substance which can be broken down into elements is termed as a compound. There are over 100 chemical elements. A few take place naturally as free elements, mixed by other elements or compounds. A few of them are very rare, whereas most take place in combined state in compounds.

The table shown below provides a list of certain elements and their total abundance either as free elements or in the combined states.

Table: List of several elements and their abundance


Abundance in percentage by mass



















Elements can be widely categorized into two groups, metals and non-metals. Illustrations of metals are iron and copper. The general features of metals are luster, good conductor of heat and electricity. Metals can be rolled and hammered to sheets and drawn into wires. They are employed for roofing and electrical cables correspondingly. The entire metals are solids at room temperature apart from mercury that is a liquid at room temperature.

Around 75 percent of the elements are metals. Dissimilar metals, non metals don't have characteristic luster. Most of them are gases at room temperature and others are solids apart from bromine that is a red brown liquid at room temperature.

Non metals are non-conductors of heat and electricity. They can't be rolled to sheets or drawn into wires such as the metals. Oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and iodine are some of the illustrations of non-metals.

I) A compound is made whenever two or more elements join chemically in fixed proportion by mass. The properties of compounds are dissimilar from those of the elements from which they are made up of. A lot of energy is often needed to split compounds to the constituent elements. There are limitless numbers of compounds. Sodium chloride, water and so on are the illustrations of compounds.

II) A mixture is basically a physical combination of elements or compounds. The composition of a mixture differs and the components are separated through physical methods. These physical methods comprise: heating, cooling, filtration, dissolution and distillation. Air and petroleum are a few illustrations of mixtures.

The Particulate Nature of Matter:

The concept of atoms and molecules:

Experiments exhibit that extremely small quantities of matter have the similar chemical properties or features as larger ones of the similar kind example: a small iron nail and a big iron rod encompass the similar chemical features.

For illustration both will rust whenever exposed to air and moisture and both will carry out heat and electricity.

  • The smallest unit of an element which consists of the properties and features of the element is the atom. The atom is the smallest unit of an element which can take part in the chemical reaction.
  • The molecule is the smallest unit of the compound which consists of the features of the compound. This is the smallest unit of the compound which can take part in the chemical reaction. The atom is to the element as molecule is to the compound.
  • The behavior of matter is described by employing the above concept and chemical reactions are illustrated as combinations and rearrangement of atoms. The fundamental unit of matter in chemical reactions is the atom. The atoms and molecules are the basic building blocks of matter.

The atomic theory and chemical reaction:

A theory is a tested proposal to describe an observed statement of facts. A theory serves as the guide to new experiments. Whenever proved incorrect or insufficient by experiment, a theory is rejected or modified so that the new experimental facts can be accounted for. This later statement is true of Dalton's atomic theory. The Dalton's atomic theory forms the base of theory of the atom. It has been altered in the light of new experimental facts regarding the atom. The hypothesizes of Dalton's atomic theory are:

i) Each and every element is made up of small, indivisible particles termed as atoms.

ii) Atoms can neither be created nor destroyed.

iii) Atoms of the similar element are similar in each and every respect and vary from atoms of all other elements.

iv) Whenever atoms join they do so in simple ratios.

v) All the chemical changes outcome from the combination or the separation of atoms.

Some significant modifications to the theory are as follows:

  • Matter is comprised of more basic particles, some of which are electrically neutral, a few carry positive charges and a few negative charges. This signifies that the atom is divisible.
  • All the atoms of the similar element are not similar. The existence of atoms of similar element having different masses have been confirmed by the use of an instrument termed as the mass spectrometer. Atoms of the similar element having different masses are termed as isotopes.
  • The smallest particle of an element which can take part in the chemical change is still the atom and in a chemical change atoms are neither formed nor destroyed. Irrespective of masses, atoms of the similar element include similar chemical properties.

The components of the atom are as follows:

The matter is electrical in nature. Proofs for this statement came from the results of experiments of early scientists such as Thompson, Faraday and Millikan. The negatively charged particle in matter is the electron. It consists of negligible mass. The proton is the positively charged particle. This carries the similar magnitude of charge as the electron and is very much heavier than the electron. The third particle is neutron, a neutral particle having a mass approximately equivalent to that of the proton. Such three particles are the component s of atom apart from the hydrogen atoms which don't have neutrons. 

The number of each and every particle present in the atom differs from one element to the other. For the atom (matter) to be electrically neutral, the number of protons should equivalent the number of electrons. Atoms of the similar element will encompass the similar number of protons and electrons however might encompass different numbers of neutrons. These atoms will encompass different masses and are termed as isotopes.

Relative atomic and molecular masses:

The subject Chemistry is a quantitative science and it is for all time desired to recognize the relative masses of substances which react as pure elements or compounds. The measurement of masses of atoms is not possible as they are extremely small. Their masses can though be compared to give relative atomic and molecular masses of the elements and compounds. The relative atomic mass of the element is the mass of one atom of the element compared to (1/12) of the mass of one atom of carbon-12 isotope.

According to this scale 1 atom of carbon-12 isotope is given a mass of 12 atomic mass units. By the use of the mass spectrometer it has been probable to find out fairly accurately the relative atomic masses of the elements.

The relative molecular mass of the compound is the sum of relative atomic masses of the elements present in the chemical formula of compound.

Chemical symbols and formulae:

The Chemical formulae and symbols are abbreviations employed to symbolize elements and compounds. A chemical equation employs such symbols and formulae to summarize a chemical reaction. Chemical symbols comprise of the first one or two letters of the name of the element. A few symbols do not correspond by the elements names; such symbols are derived from the Latin names of the elements. This is significant that you identify the symbols for as many of the general elements as possible.

Table: Elements, symbols and relative atomic masses



Relative atomic mass


























Cu (cuprium) 



Pb (plumbuim) 





Other laws of chemical combination:

a) The law of conservation of matter:

This defines that the matter is neither created nor destroyed in the chemical reaction.  A result of this law is that a chemical equation should for all time be balanced to account for all the atoms present on the reactant side, and on the product side of the reaction.

b) The law of multiple proportions:

This defines that whenever two different compounds are made from the two similar elements example: (CO and CO2 or SO2 and S03) the masses of one element that react by a fixed mass of the other are in the ratio of small whole numbers.

Chemical Reactions and Equations:

The chemical reaction comprises the reshuffling of atoms from one set of combinations to the other. In the rearrange, one compound is transformed to the other. The smallest units which can take part in the chemical reactions are the atoms and molecules. A chemical equation is frequently employed to summarize the reaction which has occurred. A chemical equation provides the reactants and products of the reaction and the quantities of the reactants and products in accurate ratio in accordance by the law of conservation of matter. At times chemical equations provide the physical states of the reactants and products.

(s) For solid

(l) For liquid

(g) For gas

(aq) for aqueous (that is, solution in water)

The equation doesn't give you the rate of the reaction, the energy effect and the conditions essential for the reaction to take place.

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