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Chemistry 251: Physical Chemistry for Engineers

Course Level: 
Second Year
Academic Year: 

States of matter, properties of gases, phase diagrams. Elementary chemical thermodynamics and kinetics. Reaction equilibria.

Prerequisite: 2 of CHEM 111, CHEM 112 or 2 of CHEM 122, CHEM 123 or 1 of CHEM 154 [3-0-1*; 0-0-0]


This course provides an introduction to the Thermodynamics and Kinetics for Engineers. There are no required textbooks, however, the following book is recommended: Physical Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Structure, and Change, Atkins and de Paula, 10 Edition


1. Properties of Matter

  • Macroscopic and microscopic descriptions of matter.
  • Equations of state.
  • Ideal gas, kinetic theory of gases.
  • Van der Waals equation, compressibility factor, virial series, Boyle temperature.
  • Liquefaction of gases, critical point.

2. First Law of Thermodynamics

  • Heat and work; internal energy and enthalpy.
  • Types of processes: reversible, irreversible, isothermal, adiabatic.
  • Heat capacities.
  • Equipartition of energy.
  • Joule & Joule-Thomson experiments.

3. Second Law of Thermodynamics

  • Carnot cycle.
  • Entropy.
  • Free energy.
  • 3rd law of thermodynamics.

4. Equilibrium in Pure Systems

  • phase equilibria.
  • Clapeyron equation.
  • Clausius-Clapeyron equation.
  • One-component phase diagrams.

5. Thermochemistry and Chemical Reactions

  • Formation reaction; Temperature dependence.
  • Extent of reaction; equilibrium constant; activities & standard states.

6. Solutions and Phases

  • Raoult’s law, Henry’s law; thermodynamics of ideal solutions.
  • Introduction to real solutions; Gibbs-Duhem equation.
  • Gibbs phase rule; two-component phase diagrams; lever rule.
  • Colligative properties: vapor pressure lowering, freezing point depression, boiling point elevation, osmotic pressure.

7. Chemical Kinetics

  • Rate laws.
  • Temperature dependence.
  • Methods for determining rate laws.
  • Surface catalysis.