Lecture Note - Thermodynamics

Lecture Note - Thermodynamics - A theory is the more...

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A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more diverse the things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability. Therefore the deep impression which classical thermodynamics made upon me. It is the only physical theory of universal content which, I am convinced, . . . will never be overthrown - Albert Einstein Thermodynamics So far, we have been looking at chemistry from a microscopic scale upwards, starting with the electron, proton, and neutron, and working our way up to the molecules. In this fashion we learned to understand and predict what happens on a macroscopic scale. In thermodynamics we will look at matter from the another point of view. We will consider only the macroscopic properties of matter. Thermodynamics is a unique theory because it looks only at the macroscopic properties of matter and, on that basis alone, tries to predict what other macroscopic behavior exists. ( e.g. , whether a particular reaction will occur or not occur under certain conditions). It is based on a few basic tenets and is a general theory. In fact, if the entire atomic theory of matter were overthrown ( i.e. , electrons, neutrons, protons, atoms, molecules), the foundations of thermodynamics would still be sound. There are many things, however, that thermodynamics doesn't tell us. For example, while thermodynamics tells us that diamonds at atmospheric pressure will transform into graphite, it doesn't tell us how long for that transformation to occur. To best understand the application of thermodynamics to chemistry we will first review some important general concepts. Scientists like to divide or cut the whole universe into smaller parts, and then study (and hopefully understand) the smaller parts. In the science of thermodynamics things are no different and we begin by distinguishing between our system of interest and its surroundings. System: The part of the universe under study. Surroundings: Everything else. In chemistry, the system is often the reactants and products of the chemical reaction, and surroundings will be some kind of container and everything outside the container.
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