Understanding Chemical Bonding

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This curriculum sequence was developed in order to help students in Carnegie Mellon's Modern Chemistry II course understand the origin of chemical bonds' energetics and the fact that chemical reactions generally must take place in some type of solvent in order to occur. Below are the simulations and interactive elements used to support the discussion during lecture, along with brief explanations of how each element was used.

The Lennard-Jones potential was used as a prototype for "real" interatomic potentials. In order for chemical bonding to make sense, students must understand interatomic potentials and the fact that they represent the potential energy between two atoms as a function of separation distance.

The above interactive graphic was created in Mathematica and allows students to visualize how the potential energy of the two atoms varies as they are moved closer and further apart.