Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics

This introductory physical chemistry course examines the connections between molecular properties and the behavior of macroscopic chemical systems.

About The Course

Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics is a course in physical chemistry that relates the microscopic properties of molecules to the macroscopic behavior of chemical systems. Quantized molecular energy levels and their use in the construction of molecular and ensemble partition functions is described. Thermodynamic state functions, their dependence on the partition function, and their relationships with one another (as dictated by the three Laws of Thermodynamics) are all examined in detail. Analysis and demonstration takes place primarily in the context of ideal and real gases. This eight-week course covers slightly more than half of a typical semester-long course in chemical thermodynamics. Typical topics to be addressed subsequently would be phase equilibria, liquids, solutions of non-electrolytes and electrolytes, and chemical reaction equilibria.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to predict how changes in molecular properties will influence the macroscopic behavior of those substances; they will understand the relationships between energy, heat, and work, and be able to predict how much work can be extracted from a given chemical process under various sets of conditions; they will understand the role of entropy in physical and chemical processes; and they will be able to engineer conditions to make chemical reactions spontaneously favorable (or not). Students will also become adept with differential calculus as a tool to derive and manipulate relationships between connected thermodynamic variables and state functions.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Certificate of Accomplishment for this course?
Yes. Students who complete the course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.


Recommended Background

One year of college-level physics. One year of college-level general chemistry. Differential calculus of multiple variables.