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A compound consisting of two elements, may be ionic or covalent.

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Valence Electrons

Outermost electrons of atoms, usually those involved in bonding.

Mass Action Expression

For a reversible reaction, aA + bB cC + dD the product of the concentrations of the products (species on the right), each raised to the power that corresponds to its coefficient in the balanced chemical equation, divided by the product of the concentrations of reactants (species on the left), each raised to the power that corresponds to its coefficient in the balanced chemical equation. At equilibrium the mass action expression is equal to K, at other times it is Q.[C]c[D]d [A]a[B]b = Q, or at equilibrium K.

Capillary Action

The drawing of a liquid up the inside of a small-bore tube when adhesive forces exceed cohesive forces, or the depression of the surface of the liquid when cohesive forces exceed the adhesive forces.

Melting Point

The temperature at which liquid and solid coexist in equilibrium, also the freezing point.


An impure form of carbon obtained by destructive distillation of coal or petroleum.

Curie (Ci)

The basic unit used to describe the intensity of radioactivity in a sample of material. One curie equals 37 billion disintegrations per second or approximately the amount of radioactivty given off by 1 gram of radium.


The time required for half of a reactant to be converted into product(s). The time required for half of a given sample to undergo radioactive decay.

Third Law of Thermodynamics

The entropy of a hypothetical pure, perfect, crystalline sustance at absolute zero temperature is zero.

Nuclide Symbol

Symbol for an atom A/Z E, in which E is the symbol of an element, Z is its atomic number, and A is its mass number.

Free Energy, Gibbs Free Energy

The thermodynamic state function of a system that indicates the amount of energy available for the system to do useful work at constant T and P.