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I'm confused on what charges mean/ what they contribute to in a problem? In exercise E23a Cu^2+ was given as one of the factors of the problem, but I never did anything in the problem that required me to take note of the 2+, so what is it for? And when is it necessary? How do you identify charges when they aren't given?
For the purposes of molar mass calculations such as those in section E, charges are pretty much irrelevant to what we are doing. The charge on Cu^2+ in E23a is there to show that CuBr2 is an ionic compound in which electrons are shared between the atoms that compose it. Since the single copper atom in this case has a positive 2 charge, it can be assumed that each of the bromine atoms must have a negative charge of 1. Most metals such as copper usually have a common charge when they are involved in ionic bonding, but as of right now it doesn't seem like we are expected to be able to determine the charge for the problems that have been assigned. Charge becomes important when dealing with concepts having to do with electricity, but that's a little ways down the road.
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