This introductory physical chemistry course examines the connections between molecular properties and the behavior of macroscopic chemical systems.
What you will learn
This module includes philosophical observations on why it’s valuable to have a broadly disseminated appreciation of thermodynamics, as well as some drive-by examples of thermodynamics in action, with the intent being to illustrate up front the practical utility of the science, and to provide students with an idea of precisely what they will indeed be able to do themselves upon completion of the course materials (e.g., predictions of pressure changes, temperature changes, and directions of spontaneous reactions). The other primary goal for this week is to summarize the quantized levels available to atoms and molecules in which energy can be stored. For those who have previously taken a course in elementary quantum mechanics, this will be a review. For others, there will be no requirement to follow precisely how the energy levels are derived–simply learning the final results that derive from quantum mechanics will inform our progress moving forward. Homework problems will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in the application of the above concepts.
This module begins our acquaintance with gases, and especially the concept of an “equation of state,” which expresses a mathematical relationship between the pressure, volume, temperature, and number of particles for a given gas. We will consider the ideal, van der Waals, and virial equations of state, as well as others. The use of equations of state to predict liquid-vapor diagrams for real gases will be discussed, as will the commonality of real gas behaviors when subject to corresponding state conditions. We will finish by examining how interparticle interactions in real gases, which are by definition not present in ideal gases, lead to variations in gas properties and behavior. Homework problems will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in the application of the above concepts.
This module delves into the concepts of ensembles and the statistical probabilities associated with the occupation of energy levels. The partition function, which is to thermodynamics what the wave function is to quantum mechanics, is introduced and the manner in which the ensemble partition function can be assembled from atomic or molecular partition functions for ideal gases is described. The components that contribute to molecular ideal-gas partition functions are also described. Given specific partition functions, derivation of ensemble thermodynamic properties, like internal energy and constant volume heat capacity, are presented. Homework problems will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in the application of the above concepts.
This module connects specific molecular properties to associated molecular partition functions. In particular, we will derive partition functions for atomic, diatomic, and polyatomic ideal gases, exploring how their quantized energy levels, which depend on their masses, moments of inertia, vibrational frequencies, and electronic states, affect the partition function’s value for given choices of temperature, volume, and number of gas particles. We will examine specific examples in order to see how individual molecular properties influence associated partition functions and, through that influence, thermodynamic properties. Homework problems will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate mastery in the application of the above concepts.