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QUESTION

In chemistry, what do the delta symbols Δ and δ stand for?

Δ means "the change in", and δ means "a small amount of".

Delta is the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet.

The capital letter Δ corresponds to the English letter D, and the lowercase δ corresponds to the English letter d.

In chemistry, Δ means "the change in". Thus, ΔT means "the change in T", ΔE means "the change in E", and so on.

If the temperature changes from 270 K to 300 K, we sat that the change in temperature ΔT = 300 K – 270 K = 30 K.

We also say that the slope of a straight line is " the change in y divided by the change in x". We write this as

"slope" = (Δy)/(Δx).

The lowercase δ usually means "a small amount". It is often used to show a partial electrical charge on an atom.

For example, in a polar H-F bond, we might say that the more negative F atom has a δ^- partial charge. The H atom would then have a δ^+ partial charge.