Chemistry (OpenStax)

April 28, 2016 | Updated: October 9, 2019
Author: Paul Flowers, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley

Good news! This book has been updated and revised. An adaptation of this book can be found here:

THIS BOOK WILL BE ARCHIVED ON February 1, 2020, AS IT HAS BEEN REPLACED BY A NEW EDITION. Published by OpenStax, Chemistry is designed for the two-semester general chemistry course. For many students, this course provides the foundation to a career in chemistry, while for others, this may be their only college-level science course. As such, this textbook provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of chemistry and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them. The text has been developed to meet the scope and sequence of most general chemistry courses. At the same time, the book includes a number of innovative features designed to enhance student learning. A strength of Chemistry is that instructors can customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom.

Subject Areas
Biological/Physical Sciences, Chemistry

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Chemistry (OpenStax) by Paul Flowers, Klaus Theopold, Richard Langley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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Reviews (1) Avg: 4.3 / 5

Devin Latimer and Josh Hollett

Institution:University of WinnipegTitle/Position: LecturerCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The reviewers generally find this book to be a suitable resource of good quality that covers the majority of important concepts for an introductory university chemistry course. What follows are comments or suggestions for each individual chapter:

Chapter 1 - Essential Ideas
Nice introduction to Chemistry and its history.
- Domains of Chemistry
- With the advent of computational chemistry we do not have to visit the microscopic only in our mind.
- Figure 1.16 could do with a little more explanation, or at least a reference to the electrochem chapter.
- 1.4 Author’s avoid using units with negative exponents in place or “per” (e.g. g/L), even though they discuss dimensional analysis (which naturally lends itself to using exponents on units). This becomes more obvious when they resort to exponents in the kinetics chapter (Chapter 12)

Chapter 2
Good introduction to chemistry fundamentals.

Chapter 3
Good introduction to chemical quantities.

Chapter 4
Good coverage of stoichiometry.

Chapter 5 - Thermochemistry
Very well explained concepts. This material is presented at a fairly elementary level and the text will be an especially good resource for intro chem students who struggle with the material.
Great job on calorimetry.... very well explained with large pictures and multiple examples.
Conspicuously, there is no section on the use of tables of average bond energies for calculating a reaction energy change, which would normally be found in a chapter such as this.
There is an adequate number and variety of end-of-chapter problems.

Chapter 6 - Electronic Structure and Periodic Properties of Elements
Thorough discussion of the basics of electromagnetic radiation, very good on properties of emR and use of examples such as transmitters. Very thorough and basic introduction to electron configurations and periodic properties, but more examples of the exceptions of each could be presented.

Chapter 7 - Chemical Bonding and Molecular Geometry
Well explained but fairly thin on Ionic Bonding section - More details on the ionization of elements and examples of ionic compounds should be introduced.
Covalent bonding is fairly detailed and introduced in a very elementary fashion. Weaker students should find these sections helpful. Sufficient detail on Lewis structures of elements and molecules as well as the calculation and use of formal charges. A few more examples involving resonance of larger molecules would be appropriate.
The section on Ionic Bond Strength and Lattice Energy is weak, and could especially use some more schematics. I believe students that are unfamiliar with this concept would struggle with only this as a resource.
Good introduction to section 7.6 Molecular Structure and Polarity, but pictures of the geometric shapes of a tetrahedron, trigonal bipyramid and octahedron could be inserted into Figure 7.16 for more clarity. Ie. Figure 7.20 (a) shows the picture of a trigonal bipyramid…. Why not show this earlier when the student is learning the basic shape?

Chapter 8 - Advanced Theories of Chemical Bonding
Well written chapter. Covered the minimum that would need to be discussed in intro chem.

Chapter 9 - Gases
Coverage of gases is as good as, or better than, other first year texts.
- If Effusion and Diffusion are a separate topic, why not put it before the kinetic molecular theory of gases?

Chapter 10 - Liquids and Solids
Good coverage of intermolecular forces, states of matter and phase changes. Maybe a little thin on the detail around enthalpies of fusion, vaporization ,etc. But likely sufficient for most first year courses.

Chapter 11 - Solutions and Colloids
Decent coverage of solution formation and their properties, and colloids. Unfortunately, there is no quantitative discussion of the energetics of solution formation (i.e. enthalpies of solution)

Chapter 12 - Kinetics
Good introduction to chemical kinetics, on par with the better texts out there.

Chapter 13 - Fundamental Equlibria Concepts
Adequate intro to basics, good intro to homo and heterogeneous eq., The separate section devoted to equilibrium calculations (13.4) is excellent and a good model for other concepts.

Chapter 14 - Acid-Base Equilibria.
Somewhat lacking in the definitions in that there is only a brief mention to an earlier discussion of Arrhenius acids and bases (with no specifics on where that earlier discussion is) and no mention of Lewis acids and bases. Confusingly, a section on Lewis acids and bases is found in the next chapter rather than this one. Excellent detailed step-wise solutions to problems.

Chapter 15 - Equlibria of other Reaction Classes. Interesting examples such as oceans and photography.

Chapter 16 - Thermodynamics
Good, but section 16.4 Free Energy discussions on Gibbs energy seems somewhat light compared to other texts.

Chapter 17 - Electrochemistry
Good introduction to electrochemistry, all the fundamentals are included.
- The author’s use of a multiplication sign in the final equation of the chapter is a bit puzzling.

Chapter 18 - Representative Metals, Metalloids, Nonmetals
Good introductory survey of main group chemistry.
- The use of the term “representative” appears to be out of touch with modern terminology (why not “main group”?)

Chapter 19 - Transition Metals and Coordination Chemistry
Good introduction to transition metal chemistry.

Chapter 20 - Organic Chemistry
An adequate introduction to some organic functional groups with some basic organic chemistry and an intro to plastics and biochem along the way.

Chapter 21 - Nuclear Chemistry
I appreciate the OpenStax introduction to nuclear binding energy ahead of radioactivity as opposed to discussing radioactivity first which is common in other texts. Excellent introduction to radiometric dating.

The usual collection of appendices. Nice section on Essential Mathematics.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased


Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement


Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used


Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework


Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.


Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion


Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

In the online text, refer to each individual figure individually in the text rather than only identifying them through a link. For example, replace “Figure” with “Figure 6.1” in the section 6.1 Electromagnetic Energy text ”As can be seen in Figure, the wavelength is the distance between two consecutive peaks or troughs in a wave (measured in meters in the SI system).” The in-chapter examples have captions at the top that indicate what the problem is about which will be very useful for later perusal to find a specific example.

Interface Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors


Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds


Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

The reviewers generally find this book to be a suitable resource of good quality that covers the majority of important concepts for an introductory university chemistry course. We recommend this book.