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Physical Chemistry

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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What is Physical Chemistry?

Physical chemistry is concerned with the physical principles that guide chemical interactions. It studies how matter behaves at the molecular and atomic levels, as well as how chemical processes take place.

Physical chemists study the physical properties of atoms and molecules, as well as the processes behind chemical processes and what these properties reveal. Their discoveries are based on an understanding of chemical properties and the use of physics theories and mathematical computations to describe their behaviour.

Overview of Physical Chemistry

Physical chemistry is a branch of chemistry that deals with material interactions and changes. Unlike other branches, it focuses on the physics principles of all chemical interactions (e.g., gas laws), with the aim of measuring, correlating, and explaining response quantitative features. By representing the smallest particles often dealt with in the field, atoms and molecules, quantum mechanics has clarified much for physical chemistry, allowing theoretical chemists to use computers and advanced mathematical techniques to understand the chemical behaviour of matter.

History of Physical Chemistry

Mikhail Lomonosov created the term "physical chemistry" in 1752, when he gave a lecture entitled "A Course in True Physical Chemistry" to students at Petersburg University. "Physical chemistry is the science that must explain what is happening in complex bodies by chemical operations under the provisions of physical experiments," he says in the preamble to these lectures.

In the 1860s and 1880s, studies on chemical thermodynamics, electrolytes in solutions, chemical kinetics, and other subjects gave rise to modern physical chemistry. Josiah Willard Gibbs' paper On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances, published in 1876, was a defining moment. Gibbs energy, chemical potentials, and Gibbs' phase rule were all introduced in this paper as cornerstones of physical chemistry.

Physical Chemistry Chapters

Let us look at the physical chemistry chapters for grade-11 and grade-12.

Grade - 11

  • Some Basic Concept of Chemistry

  • States of Matter

  • Structure of Atom

  • Chemical Bonding and Molecular Structure

  • Chemical Thermodynamics

  • Equilibrium

  • Redox Reaction

Grade - 12

  • Solid State

  • Solutions

  • Electrochemistry

  • Chemical Kinetics

  • Surface Chemistry

Some Important Physical Chemistry Books

Atkins Physical Chemistry

Atkins physical chemistry is widely regarded as the textbook of choice for studying physical chemistry by both students and teachers all around the globe. The text has been updated with new learning tools and math support, as well as rearranged to make it more flexible for instructors and more readable for students in its eleventh edition.

Narendra Awasthi Physical Chemistry

The book, Narendra Awasthi physical chemistry includes a brief theory for each chapter, and the content is organised in such a way that readers will not have any difficulties understanding the principles. Each chapter of the book includes tasks that are graded or broken down into three steps, making it easier for students to solve the problem and understand the subject.

OP Tandon physical chemistry pdf

The book (OP Tandon physical chemistry pdf) covers all of the topics in Physical Chemistry, including Atomic Structure, Radioactivity, Nuclear Transformation, and Stoichiometry. The Physical Chemistry book by OP Tandon physical chemistry pdf covers all areas important to JEE preparation.

Essentials of physical chemistry

The Essentials of Physical Chemistry by Arun Bahl, B.S. Bahl, G.D. Tuli, includes the Contents to give students an overview of the topics.

Elements of physical chemistry

Elements of Physical Chemistry has been carefully designed to help readers gain confidence in utilising physics and mathematics to solve fundamental questions about molecular structure, chemical reactions, and why materials behave the way they do.

The content is tightly focused and well-matched to undergraduate courses, making it simple to locate the necessary knowledge. Topics are presented in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner, using real-life examples to help students visualise ideas and concepts that could otherwise appear abstract.

Key Concepts of Physical Chemistry

The ways in which pure physics is applied to chemical problems are the key concepts of physical chemistry.

All chemical compounds can be defined as groupings of atoms bound together, and chemical reactions can be represented as the making and breaking of those bonds, according to classical chemistry. One of the main goals of physical chemistry is to predict the properties of chemical compounds from a description of atoms and how they connect. To properly define atoms and bonds, one must first understand where the nuclei of the atoms are located, as well as how electrons are distributed around them.

Quantum chemistry, a branch of physical chemistry concerned with the application of quantum mechanics to chemical problems, provides tools for determining the strength and structure of bonds, the motion of nuclei, and the capacity of a chemical compound to absorb or emit light. The related sub-discipline of physical chemistry known as spectroscopy is concerned with the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter.

Another group of important chemistry questions concerns the types of reactions that can occur spontaneously and the properties that a given chemical mixture can have. This is explored in chemical thermodynamics, which establishes limits on quantities such as how far a reaction can proceed or how much energy can be converted into work in an internal combustion engine, and which connects properties such as the thermal expansion coefficient and rate of change of entropy with pressure for a gas or a liquid.

It is widely used to determine the feasibility of a reactor or engine design, as well as to verify the validity of experimental data. Quasi-equilibrium and non-equilibrium thermodynamics can only represent irreversible changes to a limited extent. Classical thermodynamics, on the other hand, is largely concerned with systems in equilibrium and reversible changes, not with what actually happens, or how quickly, when they are out of equilibrium.

What do Physical Chemists do?

Physical chemists study, test, and try to understand a material's material characteristics (i.e., solid, liquid, or gas). Their model is found in analytical chemistry in terms of precision and attention to detail.

Lasers, mass spectrometers, nuclear magnetic resonance, and electron microscopes are among the advanced instruments and equipment they use to:

  • Analyse the materials

  • Develop methods for testing and characterising material attributes.

  • Create theories on these properties.

  • Explore the potential use of materials.

Did You Know?

Did you know what factors the physical chemists focus on? Let us know about that here.

Physical chemists focus on the importance of using math in the work. They apply mathematical analysis and statistics to uncover hidden information about substances, materials, and processes in large datasets—sometimes with millions of data points. They also might run simulations, creating mathematical equations to predict how compounds will react over time.

Many lab professionals claim to divide their time between the bench and their desk, where they compute and review data. In addition to supervising other scientists, reviewing department needs and goals, and meeting with business managers, physical chemists who move into management spend time supervising other scientists.

FAQs on Physical Chemistry

1. Where is physical chemistry used?

Physical chemists' research is becoming a less and smaller element of industrial research. As a result, industry and government labs are hiring fewer physical chemists. Physical chemistry, on the other hand, provides a wide education and prepare people for a number of scientific careers, including:

  • Materials science and molecular modelling are two new fields. When the mathematical rigour of physical chemistry is combined with the practicality of these fields, new and exciting possibilities arise.

  • Analytical chemistry careers. Here, you'll learn about the underlying processes that go into analytical procedures and how to improve and develop them.

2. What is Physical Chemistry?

Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic and particulate events in chemical systems using physics principles, techniques, and ideas such as motion, energy, force, time, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, analytical dynamics, and chemical equilibrium.