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This article highlights the areas of thermodynamics and physical chemistry you can explore later.

This course has covered the basics of thermodynamics, starting from gases and ending up at free energy.

University of Hull

Chemistry at the University of Hull has a wide variety of chemistry within its course. This thermodynamics course, with some more details (such as calculating enthalpies from Hess cycles) and its sequel with electrochemistry, are part of the first year.

To find out more and register your interest in studying Chemistry at the University of Hull, please visit this page

Wider thermodynamics

We talk a lot about constant pressure because it’s convenient for benchtop chemistry. But many of the quantities here change at constant volume. You can use the ratio of heat capacity at constant pressure and at constant volume to do other tricks like work out adiabatic expansion processes.

All of these different processes, with different constant variables, contribute to the Carnot cycle. This cycle between different areas on a diagram of pressure and volume is what allows any heat-exchanging engine to function – including refrigerators. The fundamental thermodynamics of these cycles is what governs the maximum efficiency of engines.

There can be more complex mathematics, too. If you want to apply calculus, then temperature-dependent heat capacity is a great example. This is used in Kirchhoff’s Law which allows us to recalculate enthalpies at different temperatures using only heat capacities.

Wider chemistry

If you got a lot from this course, then the other side of the coin to thermodynamics is kinetics. You can see what this entails in this introductory Chemical kinetics course. Thermodynamics is often referred to as “how far” – because free energy controls how much of a reaction will happen before it completes and comes to equilibrium. But an equilibrium with a *transition state determines “how fast” a reaction will go. So there is deep link with the rates and extents of chemical reactions. We can also use kinetics to determine energies – such as in this example, where we can use the numbers on the back of frozen food to figure out how much energy it takes for the chemical reactions in the food to make it go “off”.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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Introduction to Thermodynamics

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