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Onlinewrestler_az
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need some help with my chemistry lab
    #1926208 - 09/17/03 08:24 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

im taking an intro to chemistry (CHM 130) at a comunitty college here in tucson. anyway, we just did a lab where we looked at the line spectra of some elements (hydrogen, nitrogen, murcury, argon and helium). the point of this lab is to study the electronic nature of the atom, and there is one question on the lab worksheet that i am stuck on.

"In class i showed you to the phenomena of line spectra as a way to introduce to you the electronic nature of the atom. If our understanding of the electron is correct, we could actually predict the existance of line spectra--explain"

now during class we discussed that when an atom is in its ground state it is in its lowest possible energy level. when energy is added, the atom enters an excited state, where the electrons in the atom move to subsequent outer shells and back through the process of absorption and emission, and it is this process that gives us the light we are looking at. but i am having a hard time applying this information to the answer....my book has also left me confused. if anyone here could point me in the right direction it would be appreciated....


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  Edited by yageman (04/20/06 4:20 PM) 


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: wrestler_az]
    #1926637 - 09/17/03 10:42 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

The color of each line represents the difference between the two energy states. When an electron drops from an excited state to a lower excited state or the ground state, a photon is emitted. The energy of the photon (its wavelength) is determined by the energy difference between the two states. Since the spectra clearly show very specific energies (the lines are very narrow), the energies between the states must also be similarly specific. If you can determine all the wavelengths being emitted, then you should be able to determine all of the various states.

Is that something like what you're looking for?


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Onlinewrestler_az
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: ToxicMan]
    #1927586 - 09/18/03 03:45 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

thank you... that was kinda what i was thinking, but for some reson i have been having difficulty putting my thoughts into words on the paper. the only thing that still seems a bit confusing, is the part in the question that says

"...if our understanding of the electron is correct, we could actually predict the existance of line spectra"

i mean, i understand the part about the electrons getting excited and emitting the photons and such, and that each bridge between energy states has its own specific characteristics, but how do i use this understanding in this prediction shes asking for? would the number electrons in the element have anything do do with it? cuz as you start to fill up the shells, the energy levels increase...so in an element with multiple filled shells, the bridge being crossed will be higher than that of say hydrogen? i dont know, i guess im still a lil confused....lol


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  Edited by yageman (04/20/06 4:20 PM) 


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: wrestler_az]
    #1933614 - 09/19/03 09:56 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

I think the thing to keep in mind is that our understanding is that the electrons are in sets of discrete excitation states, not a continuum. That would imply line spectra, as opposed to, for example, continuous spectra.

Part of the problem is that the current way to model the electrons behavior is quantum mechanics. The whole "electrons in shells" thing is a simplification. It's a useful way to think of the electrons for chemistry.


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Onlinewrestler_az
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: ToxicMan]
    #1933707 - 09/19/03 10:53 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

thank you for your help, i did great on the assignment by the way.

"Part of the problem is that the current way to model the electrons behavior is quantum mechanics. The whole "electrons in shells" thing is a simplification. It's a useful way to think of the electrons for chemistry."

thats exactly what she told me when i asked her about this problem. she said that later, as i get into some more advanced classes, my understanding of exactly how the all this is put together will be a little more clear. she said i am asking too many questions right now...  :tongue: too many? lol, i had to laugh when she said that.

the other day she said something, i forget exactly what it was but it didnt sit right with me. i asked her about it, and she told me that the answer to my question had to do with electron tunneling and tried to give me a breif explanation as to what that was....by the time she was done the whole class was thanking me for having her confuse the hell out of them....    :grin: 


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  Edited by yageman (04/20/06 4:20 PM) 


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: wrestler_az]
    #1936317 - 09/20/03 10:01 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Keep asking the questions....

Yeah, the later classes will get into it in a lot more detail. And it doesn't help that this is some of the most counter-intuitive stuff you will ever see. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is another of the fun topics you get to try to grasp with it.

In the end, most of us just settle for useful models for the behavior we want to understand.

Don't neglect your math classes. You'll need a good grasp of math to get this stuff.


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Onlinewrestler_az
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: ToxicMan]
    #1936959 - 09/21/03 03:07 AM (14 years, 2 months ago)

thanx again for your help. if i ever get stuck like that again im pretty sure ill be posting here, so be on the look out  :grin: i know math skills will be a very important part of furthering my knowledge of chemistry. i just got done with trigonometry,which was a pre req to calculus which i will be taking in the spring. math (and science to a certain degree) has always been my strong points. should i do any math classes after the calculus? i was also thinking about taking some physics... 


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  Edited by yageman (04/20/06 4:20 PM) 


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OfflineToxicManM
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: wrestler_az]
    #1937892 - 09/21/03 02:52 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Differential Equations and Linear Algebra are both good classes. You'll need Diff.Eq. to do real Physics or to study Quantum Mechanics. Check on the prerequisites for those math classes - there's a lot you have to have before you can get to those.


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Onlinewrestler_az
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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: ToxicMan]
    #1938436 - 09/21/03 07:27 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

ya, i got 2 courses of calculus to take as pre reqs to both linear algebra and diff.eq. taking the first of thses in spring, then the next one in the following semester. as im doing these math classes, i got 2 more chemestry classes to do as well, then i will have enough credits to transfer to the university of arizona, where i will be taking the linear algebra, diff.eq. and the more advanced chemistry classes.....long road ahead of me :tongue: but im sure i will do fine, cuz im finally done with all the bs classes (english, history, economics, yadda yadda yadda....) and get to concentrate on what i really WANT to know :laugh: 


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  Edited by yageman (04/20/06 4:20 PM) 


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Re: need some help with my chemistry lab [Re: wrestler_az]
    #1938977 - 09/21/03 11:20 PM (14 years, 2 months ago)

Great! Keep it up and good luck with your studies.


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