Study of macroscopic and microscopic phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical laws and concepts [thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, quantum mechanics...].

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4
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2answers
229 views

Why are the lighter halogens gases?

In the periodic table of the elements, only a few of the elements are gases at standard temperature and pressure. Those elements include the noble gases some of the halogens, and a few of the elements ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is quicksilver (mercury) liquid at room temperature?

This is a nice question when you find it out, and I am really looking for a proper answer. Take quicksilver (Hg) in the periodic table. It has one proton more than Gold (melting point 1337.33 K), and ...
2
votes
1answer
650 views

What is the mechanism of dielectric saturation?

It is known from experiments that the dielectric constant of a solvent might decrease in regions where there is a strong electric field, for example, near a highly charged ion in an infinitely dilute ...
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vote
1answer
2k views

Obtain oxidation numbers from looking at electron configuration?

Suppose I know that Selenium has electron configuration $[Ar] 4s^2 3d^{10} 4p^4$. How can I use this information to then come to the conclusion that its possible oxidation states are 6, 4, 2, 1 and ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Why are the noble metals inert?

I am wondering: The noble 'gases' are inert because they have closed shells and don't want to give that up. But the noble metals, such as Copper, Silver, Rhodium, Gold, don't seem to have this. For ...
0
votes
2answers
327 views

Why are the alkali and alkaline earth metals present in the ashes of burnt wood? [closed]

The alkali earth metals form the two left-most column of the periodic table of the elements, other than hydrogen. See wikipedia articles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkali_metal ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How are the calories in food calculated?

This is intended to be a fun question. Calorimetry used for calculating the heat generated from chemical changes has been around for centuries, however, I suspect the process for calculating food ...
5
votes
3answers
689 views

Why is Avogadro's hypothesis true?

Why is the number of molecules in a standard volume of gas at a standard temperature and pressure a constant, regardless of the molecule's composition or weight? Let's say I have a closed box full of ...
17
votes
3answers
836 views

Why the distribution of elements on Earth?

I've been wondering exactly why the elements are distributed the way they are on Earth. The heavier elements have their origins in the centers of stars, or in supernovae. After the death of the stars, ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Boiling water and salt

I would like to have a good understanding of what is happening when you add salt to boiling water. My understanding is that the boiling point will be higher, thus lengthening the process (obtaining ...