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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 4 (2007) pp 236-239
DOI 10.1333/s00897072046a

Treating the Avogadro Constant as a Unity-Dimensional Conversion Factor

Fred Watson

Chemistry Department, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Monroe, LA 71209, watson@ulm.edu
Received July 15, 2006. Accepted January 11, 2007.

Published online: 4 August 2007

Abstract. University students of introductory general chemistry can be perplexed when they are introduced to the dimensioned quantity, the Avogadro constant (NA = NA mol–1). They may be awed by the enormity of its numerical part (Avogadro’s number) and confused by its numerator-less units (mol–1). To ease students’ discomfort in dealing with this quantity, it is recommended that general chemistry lectures not stress the enormity of NA and simplify the units by expressing a numerator (things/mol). It is further recommended that NA be interpreted as unity. Lecture notes are presented that demonstrate the unity-factor interpretation, followed by questions designed to affirm students’ understanding of the mole concept.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; kinetics

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: watson@ulm.edu)

Article in PDF format (84 KB) HTML format page numbers updated 9/15/07


Issue date: August 4, 2007

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