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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 12 Issue 4 (2007) pp 240-244

A Few Examples Illustrating the Molecular Weight Distribution of Polymers

M. Pilar Tarazona and Enrique Saiz

Departamento de Química Física, Universidad de Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Spain,
Received September 18. 2006. Accepted June 30, 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; general chemistry; Avogadro; units

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Article in PDF format (181 KB) HTML format page numbers updated 9/15/07

Issue date: August 4, 2007

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