General Chemistry Topics

General Chemistry Topics

General chemistry is the study of matter, energy and the interactions between them. This is an overview of General Chemistry topics, such as acids and bases, atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonds, and chemical reactions.

Acids, Bases and pH

Litmus paper is a type of pH paper that is used to test the acidity of water-based liquids.
Litmus paper is a type of pH paper that is used to test the acidity of water-based liquids. David Gould, Getty Images

Acids, bases, and pH are concepts that apply to aqueous solutions (solutions in water). pH refers to the hydrogen ion concentration or the ability of a species to donate/accept protons or electrons. Acids and bases reflect the relative availability of hydrogen ions or proton/electron donors or acceptors. Acid-base reactions are extremely important in living cells and industrial processes.

Atomic Structure

Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons form the nucleus of the atom, with electrons moving around this core. The study of atomic structure involves understanding the composition of atoms, isotopes, and ions.


Electrochemistry primarily is concerned with oxidation-reduction reactions or redox reactions. These reactions produce ions and may be harnessed to produce electrodes and batteries. Electrochemistry is used to predict whether or not a reaction will occur and in which direction electrons will flow.

Units and Measurement

Chemistry is a science that relies on experimentation, which often involves taking measurements and performing calculations based on those measurements. This means it is important to be familiar with the units of measurement and ways of converting between different units.


Thermochemistry is the area of general chemistry that relates to thermodynamics. It is sometimes called Physical Chemistry. Thermochemistry involves the concepts of entropy, enthalpy, Gibbs free energy, standard state conditions, and energy diagrams. It also includes the study of temperature, calorimetry, endothermic reactions, and exothermic reactions.

Chemical Bonding

Atoms and molecules join together through ionic and covalent bonding. Related topics include electronegativity, oxidation numbers, and Lewis electron dot structure.

Periodic Table

The periodic table is a systematic way of arranging the chemical elements. The elements exhibit periodic properties that can be used to predict their characteristics, including the likelihood they will form compounds and participate in chemical reactions.

Equations and Stoichiometry

It's important to learn how to balance equations and about the factors that affect the rate and yield of chemical reactions.

Solutions and Mixtures

Part of General Chemistry is learning how to calculation concentration and about different types of solutions and mixtures. This category includes topics such as colloids, suspensions, and dilutions.