Chemical Principles

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This is the open-content edition of Chemical Principles, an introductory college-level text for General Chemistry. The starting point for this edition is the third edition of the textbook bearing the same title, originally authored by R. E. Dickerson, H. B. Gray, and G. P. Haight, Jr. The textbook was published by The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company (Menlo Park, CA) in 1979.

As part of its project to make books by its faculty freely available, the California Institute of Technology has posted a set of PDF files containing the full and complete contents of the book on its library web site. The persistent URL for the book is The accompanying usage policy for the material is astonishingly simple: "You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format."

The material is used here as the starting material for an open-content textbook with the generous explicit and written permission of the Caltech library and Harry B. Gray, on behalf of the authors.

Construction of this book began on January 1, 2009. The red links below do not have any content at all, whereas most of the blue links are chapters that are just getting started. If you would like to contribute your time and energy to inserting material from the original Chemical Principles, 3rd Edition, please follow the instructions at the beginning of the chapter. Also, see the Style Guide for this textbook.

Table of Contents[edit]


  1. Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
  2. Conservation of Mass and Energy
  3. Gas Laws and the Kinetic Theory
  4. Will It React? An Introduction to Chemical Equilibrium
  5. Solution Equilibria: Acids and Bases
  6. Are Atoms Real? From Democritus to Dulong and Petit
  7. The Periodic Table
  8. Quantum Theory and Atomic Structure
  9. Electronic Structure and Atomic Properties
  10. Oxidation-Reduction and Chemical Properties
  11. Lewis Structures and the VSEPR Method
  12. Diatomic Molecules
  13. Polyatomic Molecules
  14. Bonding in Solids and Liquids
  15. Energy and Enthalpy in Chemical Systems
  16. Entropy, Free Energy and Chemical Reactions
  17. Free Energy and Equilibrium
  18. Equilibria Involving Liquids and Solids
  19. Oxidation-Reduction Equilibria and Electrochemistry
  20. Coordination Chemistry
  21. The Special Role of Carbon
  22. Rates and Mechanisms of Chemical Reactions
  23. Nuclear Chemistry