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Text and design copyright © Toucan Books Ltd. 2010 Based on an original concept by Toucan Books Ltd. Illustrations copyright © Simon Basher 2010 Published in the United States by Kingfisher, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010 Kingfisher is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Books, London. All rights reserved. Consultant: Nick Chatterton Designed and created by Basher Dedicated to Emma Marbrook Distributed in the U.S. by Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010 Distributed in Canada by H.B. Fenn and Company Ltd., 34 Nixon Road, Bolton, Ontario L7E 1W2 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data has been applied for. ISBN: 978-0-7534-6413-7 Kingfisher books are available for special promotions and premiums. For details contact: Special Markets Department, Macmillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. For more information, please visit Printed in Taiwan 987654321 1TR/0310/SHENS/UNT/128GSM/MA

Note to readers: the website addresses listed above are correct at the time of going to print. However, due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet, website addresses and content can change. Websites can contain links that are unsuitable for children. The publisher cannot be held responsible for changes in website addresses or content, or for information obtained through a third party. We strongly advise that Internet searches be supervised by an adult.

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CONTENTS Introduction Basic States Nuts and Bolts Nasty Boys Lab Rats Obnoxious Organics Bright Sparks Earthy Resources Chemicals for Life Index Glossary

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4 6 24 44 54 68 80 94 106 124 126


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Chemistry/Antoine Lavoisier Welcome to the wonderful, wild, and sometimes wacky world of chemistry. Full of alchemy and mystery, it’s the oldest of all the sciences. Chemistry is the study of the stuff the world is made from—the physical and chemical properties of matter—and how it behaves in chemical reactions. This is the field that has given humankind a hundred thousand snazzy new materials, not to mention an understanding of the inner workings of life itself. Chemists may think they have all the solutions, but Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743–1794) had more than most. He realized that Air was made of several parts and that a very important part of it is released by plants and is also combined with hydrogen to make Water. He called this part Oxygen. Another one of Lavoisier’s findings was simple but fundamental to Chemical Reaction: what goes in (the reactants) always weighs the same as what comes out (the products). Sadly, he wasn’t appreciated in his day and was beheaded during the French Revolution. It was his unpopular day job as a taxman that did it for this father of modern chemistry. 4

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Antoine Lavoisier Copyrighted Material


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Basic States

Kicking things off is a straightforward, no-nonsense gang who take a back-to-basics approach. Many of these guys are the things that you can see, touch, feel, and hold—the physical properties of matter. You’ll find things in these forms: Solid, Liquid, and Gas—the so-called states of matter. Alongside these staunch characters are the more frisky Melting Point and Boiling Point, as well as the motley ways that matter combines on Earth as Compound and Mixture. Then there’s the building block of matter, Element—the one that really “matters”! 6

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Melting Point

Boiling Point

Brownian Motion




The Periodic Table

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Basic States This stubborn old goat is the lowest-energy state of matter Chunky hunk whose particles have a rigid internal structure Heating makes its particles vibrate and melt into a liquid

Trustworthy and dependable, I don’t go for anything showy or high-energy. I’m built well and meant to keep my shape. With high melting points, I definitely don’t flow. I’ll sit motionless instead, which is handy if you want to make objects out of me or use me to contain playful, slippery Liquid. With my atoms closely packed together, I resist squeezing and changing volume. My atoms often have a crystal structure—a regularly repeating pattern—but certain solids, such as glass, have an amorphous (random) internal structure. Raising my internal energy (by heating me, for example) will eventually turn me into Liquid. Polymers are solids with long, flexible molecules, making them plastic. Proteins are biological solids found in all living matter.


Densest: osmium (23 x heavier than Water) Pure solids that form very slowly are Lighest: aerogel (530 x lighter than Water) called crystals (example: diamond). Lightest metal: lithium (floats on Water) Copyrighted Material

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Solid Copyrighted Material



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Basic States This fluid fellow flows through your arteries and veins A medium-energy state of matter that can’t exist in a vacuum Heating turns this guy into a gas; freezing turns him into a solid

Nothing much bothers me, man. Like an old-school beatnik, I’m easygoing and just go with the flow. If there are obstacles in my way, I work around them, and I change my shape easily to fit into any container you choose. I’m an important fellow—without Water on this planet, for example, life wouldn’t be possible. But I am fussy about whom I mix with. Sometimes I slip right in with other liquids, but other times I flat out refuse. You can see this in the rainbow drops of oil in dirty puddles. Mutual attraction between my molecules causes surface tension, a force that makes me form drops. I resist being compressed, and I expand when heated. If you heat me up or decrease the pressure around me, I’ll eventually evaporate away as Gas. When I dissolve a solid, I’m called a solvent.


No. of liquid elements in periodic table: 2 Liquid mercury, with its high Lightest: ether (0.7 x Water) surface tension, is actually dry! A gel is a solid-liquid Copyrighted Material

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Liquid Copyrighted Material



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Nuts and Bolts

Modest and unassuming, this bunch of founding fathers is rarely glimpsed. Yet these backroom movers and shakers are the building blocks of matter itself and the stuff from which the whole universe is made! Their properties govern the stately flow of energy as bonds uncouple and relink, as atoms and molecules move from one Compound to another. And it’s their behind-the-scenes activities that underpin chemical reactions and give the Lab Rats all the bubble and explosion they need. You have to keep your “Ion” this bunch; they’re nuts! 24

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Giant Molecule


Metallic Bonding


Avogadro’s Number


Smart Materials

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Nuts and Bolts Smaller than a pinprick but larger than life Atomic particle that has no overall electrical charge The Periodic Table is arranged in atomic number order

I am the stuff the universe is made of. I’m every chemical Compound—in fact, I’m everything that you can see, touch, and breathe. I am like a planetary system in miniature. My central nucleus is made up of tightly packed, positively charged protons and neutral neutrons. Orbiting in energy levels (called shells) around this heavy, positive core are my zippy, negatively charged electrons. The shells wrap around the nucleus like the layers of an onion and are filled from the bottom up. The first shell holds two electrons, the second holds eight, and the third holds 18. I hold on to my protons and neutrons for dear life. The number of protons determines what type of Element I am, but it’s the electrons in my outer shell that I use for chemistry, by pairing-and-sharing with other atoms or by moving them across to other atoms to create ions.


No. of electrons = no. of protons Half a million atoms could line up Atomic number = no. of protons across a single human hair. Mass number = no. of protons + neutrons Copyrighted Material

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Atom Copyrighted Material



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Nasty Boys

Quick! On with the safety goggles and gloves—the bad boys of chemistry are on the loose! This caustic crew are the original chemical nasties, causing chaos wherever (and on whomever) they land. Belligerent bullies they may be, but the ability of Acid and Base to take to Water and release reactive ions gets them involved in lots of reactions. Sure, they push their weight around, but don’t underestimate their usefulness to chemists and industry. They have their judges, too: pH is measured with Universal Indicator, which tells you how strong each bad boy is. 44

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Universal Indicator

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Nasty Boys A searing chemical nasty with a low pH Donor of positive H+ ions, it’s the chemical opposite of Base Wear gloves when handling this sour old soul

The most notorious of the Nasty Boys, I’m mad, bad, and thoroughly dangerous to know. Given the chance, I’ll eat away at Metal and burn through your skin! What gives me my acidic nature is my ability to lose hydrogen ions. I’m a sinister splitter: in the presence of Water, I disassociate, breaking into a negative ion and a positive hydrogen ion (H+). This little plus fella is a spare proton (which is why I’m also called a proton donor). It’s free to react with other chemicals in a solution and can then create ten types of havoc! Really strong acids instantly let loose 100 percent of their H+ ions, while weak acids disassociate much less. Strong sulfuric acid is number one in the chemicals industry; weak acetic acid is number one when sprinkled on your salad as vinegar.


Strong but mild: carborane superacid Phosphoric acid eats rust and makes Weak but corrosive: methane acid carbonated drinks taste good! Number on pH scale: less than 7 Copyrighted Material

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Acid Copyrighted Material



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Bright Sparks This sparky fellow is an unholy burning terror Fuel and oxidant react to release heat and light A redox (or reduction–oxidation) reaction

Come closer. I’ll warm you up, buddy. BOOM! I’ll also leave you with a blackened face. I’m a law unto myself—I can be your friend on a cold night or an explosive nuisance. I am a highly specialized type of Chemical Reaction that occurs when a fuel combines completely with the oxygen component of Air. This is most definitely an exothermic reaction, which is just a complicated word for “gives off heat.” I have energy to burn. As well as my more obvious dangers, my burning generates oxidized products, which are often pretty nasty. For example, Fossil Fuels burn to produce toxic carbon monoxide, lots of Carbon Dioxide, plus the acid-rain maker, sulfur dioxide. And when my oxidation reaction is incomplete, I leave minute particles of black Carbon soot to waft skyward on my flame.


Combustion = chemical name for burning Materials with low ignition points are Point substance burns: ignition point prone to spontaneous combustion. Incomplete combustion: yellow flame Copyrighted Material

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Combustion Copyrighted Material



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Chemicals for Life This usually unreactive type has a highly explosive sting in its tail An amazing fertilizer but can pollute and poison water courses Nitrogen-compound ammonia produced in the Haber process

I’m a steady Eddie. Although I make up more than three-fourths of Air, I keep to myself, hanging around in tightly bonded, twinned pairs of atoms. Although you won’t normally see me making a fuss about things, I don’t suffer fools gladly. My triple covalent bond is so strong that those who break it often create explosions. I’m vital to a mind-boggling array of compounds—you’ll find me in Chlorophyll, DNA, and Protein. Since plants cannot consume me directly as a gas, most of them have to find me in the soil—and they’re hungry for me! This is why, as ammonium or nitrate compounds, I’m spread on fields as a fertilizer. I also lurk in the bottoms of beer cans, in clever little things called widgets, put there because my tiny bubbles give beer a lot of foam.


Chemical formula: N2 Antoine Lavoisier called nitrogen Percentage of N2 in air: 78% “azote,” meaning without life. Discovered by: Daniel Rutherford (1772) Copyrighted Material

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Nitrogen Copyrighted Material



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Acid Activation Energy Air Alcohol alkalis 48, Alloy amorphous 8, Atom atomic number Avogadro’s Number

46 88 96 72 126 103 126 26 26 40

B Base base metals Boiling Point Brownian Motion Bunsen Burner

48 102, 126 15 16 56

C Carbon Carbon Dioxide Carboxylic Acids Catalyst Chemical Reaction Chlorophyll Chromatography Combustion Compound covalent bond 20, 32, 124

120 112 74 90 82 116 66 86 20 126

diffusion disassociate Distillation DNA Dyes electron electron shell Element endothermic Enzymes Esters ethanol exothermic

16, 126 46, 126 63 119 78 26, 30, 126 26, 126 18, 22 127 92 76 72 104, 127

F fatty acids fertilizers Filter Firework Fossil Fuels fractional distillation

74 122 62 89 104 63

G Gas Giant Molecule Greenhouse Gases

12 34 115

H Hydrocarbons

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I Ion ionic bond Isotopes

30 20, 127 28

LMN Lavoisier, Antoine Liquid mass number Melting Point Mendeleev, Dmitri Metal Metallic Bonding Mixture Mole Molecule monomers Nanoparticles neutron 18, 26, Nitrogen noble metals 102, nuclei 18, 26,

4 10 26 14 22 102 36 21 41 32 35 38 127 122 127 127

OP ores organic chemistry Oxygen Ozone Periodic Table, the pH

100 68 110 114 22 50

photosynthesis 116, Pipette Polymer Precipitate products Protein protons 18, 26,

127 61 35 64 82 118 128

RS Reactivity Series reactants Rock salts 30, Seawater Smart Materials Solid solutions solvents 10, states of matter 6–12, sublimation synthesis 82, 94,

84 82 100 128 98 42 8 128 128 128 14 128

TU Test Tube Thermometer titration Universal Indicator

60 58 61 52

W Water

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108 125


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Alkali A chemical base that dissolves in water. Amorphous A solid without order to its internal structure. Base metals The most highly reactive metals in the reactivity series. Bond The links between atoms formed by the interaction of their outer electrons. There are three types of bonds: ionic, covalent, and metallic. Burette An instrument used during titrations to determine concentration. It is a vertical glass tube with a volumetric scale and a tap on the bottom. Caustic A substance that burns skin. Centrifuge A machine that uses rapid rotation to separate substances of different shapes or densities. Concentration The number of particles of a chemical in a certain volume; given as moles per meter cubed. Covalent bond A chemical bond in which two or more atoms share electrons. Crystal structure A solid with an ordered internal structure. Diffusion The process by which particles spread through a solid, liquid, or gas. In a gas, diffusion is helped by Brownian motion. Dissolve When a solid mixes completely with a liquid, forming a solution. Electron A negatively charged subatomic particle, found orbiting the nucleus of an atom. Electron shell Electrons slot into certain fixed energy Copyrighted Material

Imagine chemistry as a community of dynamic characters, Copyrighted Material each with its own personality. This book is your essential guide to the explosive guys who fizz, react, and combine to make up everything around us. Praise for BIOLOGY: “Fresh, sassy, and smart.” Children’s Literature

Praise for THE PERIODIC TABLE: “The periodic table may be the bane of newbie science students, but The Periodic Table: Elements with Style! . . . aims to change that.” Publishers Weekly “[An] inviting ready reference.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books “Who said chemistry had to be boring?” Teens Read Too AN AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION QUICK PICK 2008

Praise for PHYSICS: “Quirky, fact-filled, and fun, it’s got great visual appeal . . . I defy anyone not to pick it up.” Sue Steel, The Bookseller “Handy as a supplement to a physics curriculum.” School Library Journal

Praise for ROCKS



“A refreshing change of approach." Booklist $8.99 US $10.99 CAN

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Chemistry Sampler  

Sample of the book Chemistry by Simon Basher

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