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Introduction to Physical Chemistry

Prof. Paula Colavita


Part One


The Properties of Gases. The gas laws. Pressure. The ideal gas. Using the ideal gas law. The stoichiometry of reacting gases. The molar volume of gas. Gaseous mixtures. The kinetic theory of gases. Molecular speeds. Real gases. The liquefaction of gases.

Energy and the First Law of Thermodynamics. Heat and Thermochemistry. Energy and calorimetry. Energy Enthalpy. The enthalpy of chemical change. Reaction enthalpies. H of formation.

Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The direction of spontaneous change. Entropy and spontaneous change. Boltzmann's definition of entropy. The Second and Third Laws. Free energy. Focusing on the system. Spontaneous reactions. Gibbs Free Energy of Formation.


Prof. Paula Colavita


Part Two


The Equilibrium constant. Variation with concentration of components, temperature and pressure, Le Chatelier's Principle.

Acids and Bases. The definitions of acids and bases. The Bronsted and Lewis definitions. Bronsted equilibria. Equilibria in solutions of acids and bases. Ionization constants. Strong and weak acids and bases. Hydrogen ion concentration and pH. The pH of solutions. Polyprotic acids.

Acid-base reactions. Arrhenius acids and bases. The Bronsted definitions. Neutralisation.

Acids, Bases, and Salts in Water. Salts as acids and bases. Ions as acids and bases. The pH of mixed solutions. Titrations and pH curves. The variation of pH during a titration. Indicators and buffers. Solubility equilibria. The solubility product. Precipitation reactions and qualitative analysis. Complex formation.

Electrochemistry. Electrochemical cells. Cells and cell reactions. Practical cells. Thermodynamics and electrochemistry. Cell potential and reaction free energy. The electrochemical series. Electrochemical corrosion. The dependence of cell potential on concentration (Nernst equation). Electrolysis. The extent of electrolysis. Kinetics of electron transfer. Reactions: simple quantitative treatment. Applications of electrolysis. (Faradays Laws and quantitatum problems).


Liquid and Solids

Prof. Paula Colavita

(9 lectures)


Liquids and Solids. Forces between atoms, ions and molecules. Ion and dipole forces. The Properties of Liquids. Vapour pressure. Phase Transitions, Phase Diagrams. Solids. Close-packed structures. Ionic solids. (NaCl, CsCl).

The Properties of Solutions. Saturation and solubility. Role of DH and DS of solution. Liquid-liquid, gas-liquid, solid-liquid solutions. The effect of pressure on gas solubility. The effect of temperature on solubility.

Kinetics. Rate equations; dependence of rate on concentration, order of reaction. Initial rate method, integrated form of rate equation for zero, first and second order reactions. Kinetics and mechanism. Rate determining step in multistep reactions. Dependence of rates on temperature. Arrhenius equation. Theory of reactions - collisions and reaction - activation energy and transition state (activated complex).

Lecture notes for this course will be available on Blackboard.

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Last updated 28 September 2017 by School of Chemistry (Email).