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Über dieses Buch

This textbook covers the fundamentals of physical chemistry, explaining the concepts in an accessible way and guiding the readers in a step-by-step manner. The contents are broadly divided into two sections: the classical physico-chemical topics (thermodynamics, kinetics, electrochemistry, transport, and catalysis), and the fabric of matter and its interactions with radiation. Particular care has been taken in the presentation of the algebraic parts of physico-chemical concepts, so that the readers can easily follow the explanations and re-work relevant discussion and derivations with pen and paper. The book is accompanied by a rich mathematical appendix. Each chapter includes a selection of (numerical) exercises and problems, so that students can practice and apply the learned topics. An appendix with solutions allows for controlling the learning success. Carefully prepared illustrative color images make this book a great support for teaching physical chemistry to undergraduate students.This textbook mainly addresses undergraduate students in life sciences, biochemistry or engineering, offering them a comprehensive and comprehensible introduction for their studies of physical chemistry. It will also appeal to undergraduate chemistry students as an accessible introduction for their physical chemistry studies.



1. Physico-chemical Data and Resources

Andreas Hofmann

2. Thermodynamics

The description of macroscopic phenomena in the area of chemistry, biology, physics and geology is of eminent importance to develop an appreciation and understanding of the molecular processes that give rise to these phenomena. Thermodynamics is a systematic theory that is applicable and valid in a truly general fashion. As such, the knowledge of thermodynamic concepts is a pre-requisite for many neighbouring disciplines, such as materials science, environmental science, biochemistry, forensics, etc.
Andreas Hofmann

3. Mixtures and Phases

In every-day life, we frequently encounter systems that consist of more than one component and thus represent mixtures. An important fundamental question in this context is whether two different components will spontaneously mix.
Andreas Hofmann

4. Solutions of Electrolytes

In the previous sections, we have mostly assumed that the systems under study consisted of non-dissociating solutes, i.e. non-electrolytes. We now want to expand considerations to substances that dissociate in solution. Such substances are called electrolytes and form ions when being dissolved in solvents. Electrolytes can be classified into strong and weak electrolytes.
Andreas Hofmann

5. Molecules in Motion

We have already seen that physico-chemical processes do not always require a chemical reaction to proceed, such as for example when considering solutions or phase changes. Irreversible processes that arise from non-equilibrium conditions may also include the spatial translocation of objects and properties. In particular, one can observe the transfer of
  • matter
  • energy
  • any other property.
Andreas Hofmann

6. Kinetics

The thermodynamic principles we have introduced in part 2, and subsequently applied to a variety of systems, all had a common point of focus: they were targeting systems in equilibrium. A chemical reaction that has reached equilibrium still exhibits a forward and a reverse reaction, but the rates of both processes are equal, and since the reactions are of opposing direction, there is no net change.
Andreas Hofmann

7. Catalysis

Catalysts accelerate reactions but do not undergo a net chemical change themselves. The process of catalysis is achieved by lowering the activation energy of a reaction, and providing an alternative path to circumvent the slow, rate-determining step of the non-catalysed reaction (see Fig. 7.1).
Andreas Hofmann

8. The Fabric of Atoms

Several simple experiments indicate that neutral substances, i.e. such that possess no overall charge, are composed of charged particles whose individual charges balance each other. For example, if a salt is dissolved in water, the conductivity of the resulting solution is larger than that of pure water. Historically, the first findings in this context (Elster and Geitel 1882; Hertz 1887) were those showing that a metal can emit charged particles when either heated (thermionic emission) or exposed to ultraviolet light (photoelectric effect).
Andreas Hofmann

9. Quantum Mechanics of Simple Systems

As a first application of the Schrödinger equation, we will characterise a free particle that exists in space without any potential (E pot  = 0). For convenience, we will also consider just one dimension. Given these conditions, the Schrödinger equation 8.​29 becomes
Andreas Hofmann

10. Quantum Theory of Atoms

In the previous chapter, we familiarised ourselves with various applications of the Schrödinger equation, and can now discuss the hydrogen atom from a quantum mechanical view.
Andreas Hofmann

11. The Chemical Bond

After considering the make-up of isolated atoms, we now want to have a closer look at how atoms interact with each other to form compounds and molecules. Practical experiences with different substances tell us that the type of bonds between atoms can be quite different.
Andreas Hofmann

12. Intermolecular Interactions

In the preceding chapter, we discussed the various types of chemical bonds that are holding individual atoms together such as to build up new entities—molecules (or metals). These new entities possess different characteristics and functions than the individual atoms they comprise of. Molecules can engage in further interactions, which is the subject of this chapter.
Andreas Hofmann

13. Interactions of Matter with Radiation

In Sect. 8.​2.​1, we already had a look at the interaction of atoms and electromagnetic radiation. Specifically, the atomic spectra were used to obtain insights into the inner fabric of atoms and their energetic states. Importantly, the spectral data provided the experimental verification of theoretical models such as the atomic model by Bohr (Sect. 8.​2.​2) and the quantum mechanics of the hydrogen atom by the Schrödinger equation (Sect. 10.​1).
Andreas Hofmann


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