1. Introduction to Solid State Chemistry

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Session Overview

Modules Structure of the Atom
Concepts origins of modern chemistry, taxonomy of chemical species, introduction to the periodic table, evolution of atomic theory
Keywords matter, element, compound, mixture, solution, metal, semimetal, nonmetal, mole, symbol, molecular mass, substance, homogeneous mixture, heterogeneous mixture, periodic table of elements, Democritus, Aristotle, John Dalton, triads, octaves, Johann Dobereiner, John Newlands, Dmitri Mendeleev, Julius Meyer
Chemical Substances none
Applications energy generation and storage (e.g. batteries)


Before starting this session, you should be familiar with:

  • Basic principles of high school chemistry
  • Fundamental concepts of the structure of the atom

Looking Ahead

Prof. Sadoway discusses the periodic table in more detail (Session 2). He explores the relationship between electronic structure, chemical bonding, and crystal structure (Session 4).

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you should be able to:

  • Classify a substance as an element or a compound.
  • Understand the developmental history of the periodic table of elements.
  • Identify the symbols and number of electrons for an element.
  • Classify an element as a metal, semimetal or a nonmetal.
  • Explain which sets of elements are in the same period.
  • Calculate the molecular mass of a compound.
  • Calculate the number of moles in a substance.
  • Define a homogenous mixture and a heterogeneous mixture.


Book Chapters Topics
[Saylor] 1, "Introduction to Chemistry." Chemistry in the modern world; the scientific method; a description of matter; a brief history of chemistry; the atom; introduction to the periodic table; essential elements

Lecture Video

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Lecture Slides (PDF - 3.2MB)

Periodic Table and Table of Constants

Transcript (PDF)

Lecture Summary

This lecture is an introduction to the class. 

Professor Sadoway begins with important information about the course objectives, organization, and expectations, and proceeds to introduce the subject of solid state chemistry. 3.091 integrates thorough coverage of the principles of chemistry with various applications to engineering systems. The thesis of 3.091 is that electronic structure holds the key to understanding the world around us.

The lecture continues with a survey of the historical foundations of chemistry:

  • The origins of chemistry in ancient Egypt and Greece
  • The development of increasingly refined classification schemes (taxonomy and nomenclature) throughout the 18th and 19th centuries
  • The evolution of atomic theory
  • The origins and development of the periodic table of elements


Problems (PDF)

Solutions (PDF)

Textbook Problems

[Saylor] Sections Conceptual Numerical
[Saylor] 1.3, "A Description of Matter." 6, 7, 9, 10 none
[Saylor] 1.4, "A Brief History of Chemistry." 6 none
[Saylor] 1.5, "The Atom." none 1
[Saylor] 1.6, "Isotopes and Atomic Masses." 1 none
[Saylor] 1.7, "Introduction to the Periodic Table." 1, 4, 6, 10, 11 none
[Saylor] 3.1, "The Mole and Molar Masses." none 3, 8, 16, 17

For Further Study

Supplemental Readings

Buy at Amazon Davies, D. A. Waves, Atoms and Solids. Harlow Essex, UK: Longman Group United Kingdom, 1978. ISBN: 9780582441743.

Buy at Amazon Brown, T. L., H. E. Lemay, and B. E. Bursten. Chemistry: The Central Science. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. ISBN: 9780130103109.

How Batteries Work




John Dalton

Dmitri Mendeleev

Johann Dobereiner

John Newlands

Julius Meyer

Other OCW and OER Content

Content Provider Level Notes
5.111 Principles of Chemical Science MIT OpenCourseWare Undergraduate (first-year) Lecture 1: The Importance of Chemical Principles


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