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Chemistry LibreTexts

Book: Thermodynamics and Chemical Equilibrium (Ellgen)

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  • Physical chemistry encompasses a wide variety of ideas that are intimately linked. For the most part, we cannot understand one without having some understanding of many others. We overcome this problem by looking at the same idea from a series of slightly different and increasingly sophisticated perspectives. This book focuses on the theories of physical chemistry that describe and make predictions about chemical equilibrium. We omit many topics that are usually understood to be included in the subject of physical chemistry. In particular, we treat quantum mechanics only briefly and spectroscopy not at all.  

    As an organizing principle, the text introduces physical chemistry by developing the principles of chemical equilibrium from the perspectives of chemical kinetics, classical thermodynamics, and statistical thermodynamics. The central objective was to develop the ideas that are necessary to produce the equilibrium constant expression for a chemical reaction from each of these perspectives. Since these ideas comprise the core of each of these subjects, this device necessarily selects subject matter that goes to the heart of these subjects.