Factoids 2014 – another REDUX

April 28, 2014

Below is the amended text of a post that I originally wrote in April of 2012. The degree to which such things will be at all relevant on the AP exam in 2014 and beyond is highly debatable (since general chemical knowledge/recall seems to be frowned upon in the new curriculum and won’t fit many – if any – of the LO’s). However, I have tweaked the original post to reflect the new curriculum and perhaps this will be worth one point, somewhere!

A. Environmental

a. Greenhouse gases – classically CO2, but also H2O and methane. Cause global warming and climate change.

b. Eutriphication – nitrates and phosphates washed into water systems causing excess growth of algae and other organisms and increased stagnation.

c. CFC’s (Chlorofluorocarbons) – Compounds of the halogens, previously used in refrigerants that are known to cause the breakdown of the protective ozone layer around the earth.

d. Hard water – water with calcium and magnesium ions dissolved in it that creates a ‘scum’ with soap and can be difficult to create a lather with. Also builds up ‘limescale’ in pipes leading to blockage, ‘Softened’ by replacing group 2 ions with group 1 ions.

B. Biological – potentially more relevant at least in terms of references in 2014

a. Amino acids – Organic molecule important in biological systems. Contains carboxylic acid functional group (-COOH) and amino functional group (-NH2). Can form a ‘zwitterion’ where acid internally donates H+ to NH2.

Amino Acid

Amino Acid



b. Proteins – long polymer chains of amino acids. Crucial biological roles

c. Lipids – large group of naturally occurring biological molecules with various functions. Include sterols, waxes and fats

d. Fats – Primarily triglycerides that are tri-esters derived from glycerol (an alcohol) and ‘fatty acids (acids)

e. Carbohydrates – compounds of carbon and H2O, often known as the more generic, ‘sugars’

C. Laboratory Situations (AP)

See separate document, here. See Chapter 27 in Crash Course book.

D. Medicine

a. Disinfectants – iodine, hydrogen peroxide

b. Radioactivity – used to attack tumors or track bodily function

E. Qualitative lab tests

a. Gases

(i) CO2 – turns limewater milky. (Will also extinguish a splint, but not definitive – see N2)
(ii) N2 – extinguishes a splint (see CO2)
(iii) O2 – relights a glowing splint
(iv) H2 – ‘squeaky pop’ test with glowing lighted splint

b. Other – see TOPIC 5 notes. (Different reference in my notes now)

F. Common Colors

See separate document, here. Try this amended document.

G. The Elements

a. States – solids at RT, except Br and Hg (liquids) & common gases (H, O, N, F, Cl, noble gases)

b. NOT monatomic

(i) Diatomic (Br-I-N-Cl-H-O-F or H-O-F-Br-I-N-Cl)

(ii) P4 (white/red), S8 (rhombic/monoclinic) (However, generally uncommon to use anything other than single P or S atoms in equations)

c. Abundance – listed in order, most abundant first.

(i) Earth’s crust – O, Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Na, K, Mg

(ii) Sea (not including H and O that make up water) – Cl, Na, Mg, S, Ca, K, Br

d. Names – For common groups, see TOPIC 7 notes. Lanthanides – first row of f-block, Actinides – second row of f block (Different reference in my notes now)

H. Uses of chemicals in Industry/Commercial

a. Semi-conductors – silicon, germanium and other metalloids (possible increased relevance)

b. Ammonia – in fertilizers/cleaners

c. Explosives – many nitrogen containing compounds (TNT)

d. HF – as glass etcher

I. Definitions

a. Allotropes – different forms of the same element (e.g., diamond and graphite for carbon)

b. Isomer – same formula, different arrangements (different bonds or different 3D- arrangement). Common in organic questions

c. Gravimetric – analysis by weighing

J. Trivial/Common names and household chemicals/applications

a. Caustic Soda or (lye) – sodium hydroxide

b. Lime – CaO or calcium hydroxide used to make acidic soil less acidic

c. Epsom Salts – magnesium sulfate used in bathing salts to relieve aches and pains.

d. Milk of Magnesia – magnesium hydroxide as an antacid or laxative


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