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Chapter 2

Study tips and resources for Chapter 2 – Physical Chemistry by Laidler, Meiser, Sanctuary

Isobaric, Isochoric and Isothermal processes for an ideal gas

Various processes for an ideal gas explained using the Physical Chemistry ebook. The clips are from classroom recordings, please excuse if the quality is not that great. Continue reading

The two ultimate questions of Thermodynamics

All you need to know about Thermodynamics

Understanding the laws of thermodynamics is paramount to understanding why chemical reactions proceed or not. Unfortunately, many times they seem detached or irrelevant when learning to predict reactions, but they are always there in the background. In a chemists view, thermodynamics is what makes the world go round! Continue reading

May the Energy be with you! Yoda’s Law of Thermodynamics

Yoda's law of thermodynamics

Original image from Andres Rueda

Sci-fi authors often deal with a really big problem: how to obtain all the energy needed by spaceships to move? How can people obtain longer lives, or immense supernatural powers? The answers are different: from the Warp Drives to the Midi-chlorians, to the Melange, to countless other means!

Of course, the main problem is that sci-fi technology needs a lot of energy, and how can we obtain such amounts of energy without creating a reliable, immense (and fake) source?

A bigger problem is: what is what we call “energy”? What should this word mean? Continue reading

State Functions explained with multiple examples

Screen grab of multimedia explanation of State Functions in Physical chemistry textbook

Still from multimedia explanation of State Functions in Physical chemistry textbook

Section 2.2 of the Physical Chemistry textbook, States and State Functions, provides a wonderful definition for two terms that are often understood but difficult to define.  The use of simplistic terminology and multimedia examples help to clarify the meanings.

The key to understanding state functions, as pointed out in the text, is understanding the dependence of the individual variables on the pathway.  Some key variables worth exploring are:  temperature, mass, pressure, volume, energy and work. Continue reading

Why scientists like state functions

State functions in Physical Chemistry

Still from animation explaining State function in Physical chemistry (click to enlarge)

State variables, or state functions, are one of the most interesting concepts in science. They have a special place in thermodynamics because of their fundamental property of being unaffected by the way chosen by the system to reach its final state.

A good example, to understand how this works, is to consider the distance between Rome and Montreal. This distance is fixed; however, to travel from Italy to Canada you have to choose a path: maybe you’ll choose a straight Atlantic route; or maybe you’ll prefer the opposite direction, to visit Africa, India, Japan, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and (finally!) reach Canada. In either case, the distance between the two cities does NOT change: what changes is the path you choose. Continue reading

Try our bestselling undergraduate Physical Chemistry courseware

Thermodynamics Module - Physical Chemistry
Thermodynamics module
Chapters 1 to 6 of Physical Chemistry - Laidler, Meiser, Sanctuary


Includes multimedia that opens on relevant pages and allows the student to visualize many of the concepts by varying parameters and plotting different graphs. Things students often have difficulty with, such as isothermal, isobaric, isochoric and adiabatic process, are clearly visualized.

Get it from: Thermodynamics Module - Physical Chemistry



Physical Chemistry - Laidler, Meiser, Sanctuary
Physical Chemistry textbook
by Laidler, Meiser, Sanctuary


This popular Physical Chemistry text book is now available in electronic format. We have preserved much of the material of the former hard copy editions, making changes to improve understanding of the concepts in addition to including some of the recent discoveries in physical chemistry. Many chapters have new sections and the coverage of several chapters has been greatly expanded.

Get it from: Physical Chemistry - Laidler, Meiser, Sanctuary

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