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We have spent much of the previous concept studies finding that chemical and physical processes come to equilibrium. We have observed this in phase equilibrium of pure substances, solution equilibrium, solubility equilibrium, chemical reactions in the gas phase, and acid-base equilibrium. In each case, we have been able to understand equilibrium as a dynamic process. At equilibrium, there are competing processes, forward and reverse, which come to equilibrium when the rates of the competing processes are equal. For example, when liquid and vapor are at equilibrium at the vapor pressure of the liquid, the rate of evaporation of the liquid is equal to the rate of condensation of the vapor.

However, our dynamic equilibrium model does not tell us the conditions at equilibrium. For each liquid, we know that there is one pressure for each temperature at which the liquid can be in equilibrium with its vapor. But we cannot predict or calculate what that pressure is for each temperature for each liquid. We can only make qualitative predictions. Thermodynamics will give us the means to make these predictions and will give us a new physical insight into the nature of equilibrium.

We will begin by developing a means to predict what processes will happen “spontaneously.” This is a term chemists use to refer to processes that are not at equilibrium. It is easiest to explain with an example. We know that, if the pressure of water vapor is 1 atm at 25 ºC, the water vapor will spontaneously condense. On the other hand, we have also seen that, if the pressure of water vapor is below 23 torr at 25 ºC, the liquid water will spontaneously evaporate. These are both examples of spontaneous processes. Note that these are opposite processes. This means that the spontaneity of a process depends on the conditions, in this case, the pressure and the temperature. Any process not at equilibrium is a process occurring spontaneously. One way to understand equilibrium, then, is to understand spontaneity. We will see that the Second Law of Thermodynamics provides us the ability to predict spontaneous processes.


We have come a long way to reach this point, so we have a substantial foundation to build on. We know all the elements of the Atomic Molecular Theory, including the models for molecular structure and bonding. We have developed the postulates of the Kinetic Molecular Theory. We have observed and defined phase transitions and phase equilibrium. We have also observed equilibrium in a variety of reaction systems, including acids and bases. We will assume an understanding of the energetics of chemical reactions, including the idea of a “state function” and the concept of Hess’ Law.

Observation 1: spontaneous mixing

We begin by examining common characteristics of spontaneous processes, and for simplicity, we focus on processes not involving phase transitions or chemical reactions. A very clear example of such a process is mixing. Imagine adding a drop of blue ink into a glass of water. At first, the blue dye in the ink is highly concentrated. Therefore, the molecules of the dye are closely congregated. Slowly but steadily, the dye begins to diffuse throughout the entire glass of water, so that eventually the water appears as a uniform blue color. This occurs more readily with agitation or stirring but occurs spontaneously even without such effort. Careful measurements show that this process occurs without a change in temperature, so there is no energy input or released during the mixing.

Questions & Answers

What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Concept development studies in chemistry 2013. OpenStax CNX. Oct 07, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11579/1.1
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