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Chemistry LibreTexts

5: Thermochemistry

  • Page ID
    21660
  • This chapter introduces you to thermochemistry, a branch of chemistry that describes the energy changes that occur during chemical reactions. In some situations, the energy produced by chemical reactions is actually of greater interest to chemists than the material products of the reaction. For example, the controlled combustion of organic molecules, primarily sugars and fats, within our cells provides the energy for physical activity, thought, and other complex chemical transformations that occur in our bodies. Similarly, our energy-intensive society extracts energy from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas, to manufacture clothing and furniture, heat your home in winter and cool it in summer, and power the car or bus that gets you to class and to the movies. By the end of this chapter, you will know enough about thermochemistry to explain why ice cubes cool a glass of soda, how instant cold packs and hot packs work, and why swimming pools and waterbeds are heated. You will also understand what factors determine the caloric content of your diet and why even “nonpolluting” uses of fossil fuels may be affecting the environment.

    • 5.1: The Nature of Energy
      All forms of energy can be interconverted. Three things can change the energy of an object: the transfer of heat, work performed on or by an object, or some combination of heat and work. Thermochemistry is a branch of chemistry that qualitatively and quantitatively describes the energy changes that occur during chemical reactions. Energy is the capacity to do work.
    • 5.2: The First Law of Thermodynamics
      The first law of thermodynamics states that the energy of the universe is constant. The change in the internal energy of a system is the sum of the heat transferred and the work done. At constant pressure, heat flow (q) and internal energy (U) are related to the system’s enthalpy (H). The heat flow is equal to the change in the internal energy.
    • 5.3: Enthalpy
      At constant pressure, heat flow (q) and internal energy (U) are related to the system’s enthalpy (H).
    • 5.4: Enthalpy of Reaction
      For a chemical reaction, the enthalpy of reaction (\(ΔH_{rxn}\)) is the difference in enthalpy between products and reactants; the units of \(ΔH_{rxn}\) are kilojoules per mole. Reversing a chemical reaction reverses the sign of \(ΔH_{rxn}\).
    • 5.5: Calorimetry
      Calorimetry measures enthalpy changes during chemical processes, where the magnitude of the temperature change depends on the amount of heat released or absorbed and on the heat capacity of the system. It uses devices called calorimeters, which measure the change in temperature when a chemical reaction is carried out. The magnitude of the temperature change depends on the amount of heat released or absorbed and on the heat capacity of the system.
    • 5.6: Hess's Law
      Hess's law argues that for a chemical reaction, the enthalpy of reaction (ΔHrxn) is the difference in enthalpy between products and reactants; the units of ΔHrxn are kilojoules per mole. Reversing a chemical reaction reverses the sign of ΔHrxn. The magnitude of ΔHrxn also depends on the physical state of the reactants and the products because processes such as melting solids or vaporizing liquids are also accompanied by enthalpy changes: the enthalpy of fusion (ΔHfus) and the enthalpy of vaporiz
    • 5.7: Enthalpies of Formation
      The standard state for measuring and reporting enthalpies of formation or reaction is 25 oC and 1 atm. The elemental form of each atom is that with the lowest enthalpy in the standard state. The standard state heat of formation for the elemental form of each atom is zero. The enthalpy of formation (ΔHf) is the enthalpy change that accompanies the formation of a compound from its elements. Standard enthalpies of formation (ΔHof) are determined under standard conditions: a pressure of 1 atm for ga
    • 5.8: Foods and Fuels
      Thermochemical concepts can be applied to determine the actual energy available in food. The nutritional Calorie is equivalent to 1 kcal (4.184 kJ). The caloric content of a food is its \(ΔH_{comb}\) per gram. The typical caloric contents for food are 9 Cal/g for fats, 4 Cal/g for carbohydrates and proteins, and 0 Cal/g for water and minerals.
    • 5.E: Thermochemistry (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry: The Central Science" by Brown et al.
    • 5.S: Thermochemistry (Summary)