[MUD-Dev] Re: Chemistry [Warning, scientific content]

Peck Peck
Thu Nov 12 02:45:14 CET 1998

This post contains significant chemistry information and instruction.
Delete if not interested.  It also probably strays dangerously close to
being Off Topic.  Any questions on specifics should probably be
addressed off list.  Any inaccuracies can probably be attributed to the
late hour.

> ----------
> From: 	quzah [sotfhome][SMTP:quzah at softhome.net]
> From: Ling <K.L.Lo-94 at student.lboro.ac.uk>
> Date: Wednesday, November 11, 1998 6:36 AM
Ahh... I knew that being a chemistry major would finally come in handy
sometime.   Allow me to help you with some general statements and input
that should work in most cases.

> Greetings again. I'm currently in the process of jotting down info on
> the periodic table, element by element to plunk into my project. I was
> wondering how one goes about finding out the properties of elements/
> compounds like above. (How do I find out say, how brittle iron is?
> Or that gold doesn't react to sulpheric acid, or whatever.)
> (elements here)
> I can get its color, melting point, boiling point, its color, mass
> (in "amu" though I'll sound like a dunce and say I don't know what
> an "amu" is; but it doesn't really matter, I'll end up with a scale
> of sorts by which I can sort them by their mass if I like), their
> density and once in a while a bit of extra trivia. But does anyone
> know off hand of a good place to pick up useful info on oh, what
> elements are found freely occuring in nature? (For example I know
> now that all "alkali metals" are not found in nature; and I can use
> heat to determine if someone will find others in nature (ie: It's
> too hot for this to be solid, you won't see it here.) But is there
> a list telling what don't ever occur, or any wonderful things like
> that that I can use to give them more usefulness?) (Smell; I can't
> tell what they smell like, so I can't describe them if you walk
> into a gas pocket.)
Incidentally, AMU is atomic mass unit.  When you get together a mole of
a substance (6.02 x 10^23 molecules),you will get 1 kg times the AMU
kilograms.  But this is of less use to you than density would be, I
think.  Density allows you to directly compare mass and volume, which is
probably more important for you than number of molecules.

As for where to find elements:  Most transition metals can be found
either free (ie in elemental form) or in an ore.  Ores are generally
solid compounds containing both a metal and a non-metal (often oxygen,
see further down for more info)  Most Alkali and alkali earth metals are
found in salts (easily dissolved in water and in 1:1 ratio.) noble gases
do not form bonds.  Halogens are found either bonded diatomically or in
salts.  Oxygen can be found almost anywhere, nitrogen in the air, in
protein, and a few other molecules.  Carbon is rarely found free except
as graphite and diamond.  This is just a general list, exceptions will
be found to just about all of those, if not all, but in general it
should be pretty good.

>    [Hal Black]
> >> material is what it's made of.  Could be a mixture, complex
> structure,
> >> or pure molecular/elemental type.  Lots of room for development
> here,
> >> depending on how involved you want to get.  (are animals and plants
> the
> >> same or different subtypes of "organic", etc...)  There are
> mixtures,
> >> alloys, all kinds of neat stuff.  Go to your college book store and
> sit
> >> down with a Chemistry 101 book and thumb through it for a while for
> >> ideas.  There is some neat stuff in there. 
> For starters, I'm dropping in the element table, from there, I'll add
> in
> some common compounds, and I'll take it from there. There's no way
> I'll
> be able to make it so you can combine X and Y and X in the correct
> amounts
and produce every possible compound/solution/whatever and make it be
> to be used correctly, so I am going to have to fake it and put in what
> I
> can think up (with their correct proportions of X,Y,Z as reference) so
> you
> can create things from my list.
> I haven't even begun to touch upon organics right now. Not sure how
> I'll
> do that. I may have to get boring and put in "blood", "flesh" or
> something.
> After all, I want this to be useful, but not so taxing that it takes a
> chemist/biologist to mix mud and conjure a golem.
> -Q-
As for different combinations, actually making the table is probably the
best thing you could have done.  Here is a summary of reactions between
elements.  It all depends on electrons.  When combining elements, you
generally want the outer shell to equal 8 electrons, except hydrogen
which will equal 2.  Each bond between an atom will basically share one
electron from one with the other.  So when you have 2 hydrogens (1
electron each) and 1 oxygen (6 electrons in the outer shell), you can
share electrons to form H20 (2 hydrogens with 2 electrons, 1 oxygen with
8 valence, or outer electrons)  Note that the actual number of electrons
has not increased, 4 of those electrons are shared and are on 2 atoms at
once.  Because you filled each shell. this molecule is now complete.  

The periodic table is laid out along these lines for you.  The elements
in the left column have 1 electron and the ones on the right have 8.
Some periodic tables will include something called oxidation numbers on
it, which , very simply, show possible electron configurations.  What
you could do is input those numbers to your table, and if some
combination of quantities and oxidation numbers balance, then the
elements combine.  (Examples, Hydrogen has a number of +1, oxygen is -2,
so you need 2 hydrogen for one oxygen)

While this is not and cannot be a complete lesson in chemistry, it
should make your system a little easier to work with, should you
continue this route. Most of the information you need can be found on
the periodic table or one of its derivatives.

Incidentally, Chris Gray's suggestions (make a simpler system or add
them one by one) and posted after I started writing this) are looking
pretty good.  
Also in reference to Chris's post, I don't know if they still publish
the rubber bible, my school's copies are looking a bit old also.  

Anyway, enough of the chem class for tonight.  I have to get back to my
chemistry lab report.  

Matthew Peck
The One Ring Mud
x96724 at exmail.usma.edu or
valatar at mb2.betterbox.net

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