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Ch 3: Thermodynamics in Physical Science

About This Chapter

Use these video lessons to learn about the laws of thermodynamics and find out how they apply to your daily life. Gauge your understanding of thermodynamics with self-assessment quizzes.

Thermodynamics in Physical Science - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Can we create or destroy energy? No, but the first law of thermodynamics tells us that it can be changed from one form to another. Can we consume all energy? Negative again, but you can expect it to become more and more disorganized over time. Now that you know the two laws of thermodynamics, you might want to use this chapter and dive in deeper to thermochemistry's state functions, phase changes and heating curves. Upon completion of this chapter, you should know the following:

  • The connection between temperature and heat
  • The distinction between enthalpy and entropy
  • The process for calculating specific heat capacity for various substances
  • The differences between cell potential energy and free energy

Video Objective
The Laws of Thermodynamics Understand the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Give examples from daily life.
State Functions in Thermochemistry Explain the concept of state functions, give examples, and tell why this is important to thermochemistry.
The Relationship Between Heat and Temperature Develop an understanding of the relationship between temperature and heat.
Energy and Life: The Transformation of Energy in Living Organisms Describe photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Compare endergonic and exergonic processes.
Changes in Heat and Energy Diagrams Study how diagrams may be used to illustrate the connections between temperature and heat while changing phases.
How to Calculate Specific Heat Capacity for Different Substances Explore specific heat capacity through experimentation.
Phase Changes and Heating Curves Name the four phases. Explain plateaus and phase transitions.
Changes in State Learn the differences between phases and states.
Mechanical Equivalent of Heat Discuss this concept in reference to motion, heat and work.
Heat Transfer and Phase Changes Describe what occurs during a phase change and be able to interpret a heating curve.
Heat Capacity Define heat capacity.
Enthalpy: Energy Transfer in Physical and Chemical Processes Explain this energy transfer.
Using Hess's Law to Calculate the Change in Enthalpy of a Reaction Discuss how this law is expressed through the first law of thermodynamics.
Calorimetry: Measuring Heat Transfer and Heat Capacity Describe the various phase changes that occur during heat transfer.
Predicting the Entropy of Physical and Chemical Changes Learn how the concept of entropy relates to quantity and quality.
Free Energy: Predicting the Spontaneity of a Reaction Define free energy and explain how spontaneity of reactions may be predicted.
The Relationship Between Enthalpy (H), Free Energy (G) and Entropy (S) Understand the connections between these three concepts.
Electrochemistry: Free Energy and Cell Potential Energy Describe electrochemical cells and explain how they work.

16 Lessons in Chapter 3: Thermodynamics in Physical Science
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Laws of Thermodynamics

1. The Laws of Thermodynamics

Learn about the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Find out how energy is generated, how it converts from one form to another, and what happens to energy in a closed system.

State Functions in Thermochemistry

2. State Functions in Thermochemistry

This lesson defines state functions and explains why state functions are so useful in thermochemistry and thermodynamics. You'll also see a few examples of common state functions.

Energy and Life: The Transformation of Energy in Living Organisms

3. Energy and Life: The Transformation of Energy in Living Organisms

While the sun is an excellent source of energy, not all forms of life can utilize the sun's energy directly. This lesson describes how plants transform the sun's energy into potential energy stored in sugar, how living organisms utilize energy in sugar to perform work, and how the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration is necessary for life.

Changes in Heat and Energy Diagrams

4. Changes in Heat and Energy Diagrams

Did you know that temperature and heat are not the same thing? Did you know that the temperature of water doesn't change when it boils? This lesson describes the relationship between heat and temperature. Diagrams are used to illustrate the relationship between heat and temperature during phase changes.

How to Calculate Specific Heat Capacity for Different Substances

5. How to Calculate Specific Heat Capacity for Different Substances

This lesson describes specific heat capacity and explains how the specific heat capacity of water helps to maintain a relatively constant temperature in nature. Learn how to identify the specific heat capacity of other common materials and how to calculate specific heat capacity with an experiment.

Phase Changes and Heating Curves

6. Phase Changes and Heating Curves

Learn the phases - gas, liquid, solid and plasma. Learn what a phase diagram is and what terms describe the movement between phases: melting, sublimating, freezing, vaporization, condensation, and deposition. Discover why heating curves have plateaus, what a phase transition is, and what happens during this transition.

States of Matter and Chemical Versus Physical Changes to Matter

7. States of Matter and Chemical Versus Physical Changes to Matter

The world around us is constantly changing. Chemists put those changes into two main categories: physical changes and chemical changes. This lesson will define and provide examples of each.

Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

8. Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

We all know when we feel heat, but do you know how or when it was discovered? In this lesson, we learn about the revolutionary findings of James Prescott Joule who discovered how to get heat out of mechanical work.

Heat Transfer & Phase Changes

9. Heat Transfer & Phase Changes

After watching this lesson, you will be able to explain what heat transfer is and describe the various phase changes that can result from heat transfer in terms of the position of the molecules. You will also be able to give the names of those phase changes. A short quiz will follow.

Enthalpy: Energy Transfer in Physical and Chemical Processes

10. Enthalpy: Energy Transfer in Physical and Chemical Processes

This video explores the relationship between chemistry and energy. We learn the general properties of energy and the concepts of temperature and heat. We will learn about energy flow and consider the enthalpy change during chemical reactions.

Using Hess's Law to Calculate the Change in Enthalpy of a Reaction

11. Using Hess's Law to Calculate the Change in Enthalpy of a Reaction

Want to make sure you don't blow yourself up during a chemical reaction? This lesson will help you avoid this by teaching you Hess's Law. This is one way to calculate the heat transferred, or enthalpy change, of a chemical reaction.

Calorimetry: Measuring Heat Transfer and Heat Capacity

12. Calorimetry: Measuring Heat Transfer and Heat Capacity

This video lesson explains the technique of calorimetry used to measure heat transfer in chemical reactions. You will see how different materials have different specific heat capacities. You will learn how to carry out heat calculations using a simple equation.

Predicting the Entropy of Physical and Chemical Changes

13. Predicting the Entropy of Physical and Chemical Changes

Ever wonder why your bedroom always ends up a mess within hours of you tidying up? That is the magic of entropy. In this lesson, you'll learn why disorder is the natural state of matter and how we can predict entropy change in a physical or chemical reaction.

Free Energy: Predicting the Spontaneity of a Reaction

14. Free Energy: Predicting the Spontaneity of a Reaction

Ever heard the phrase 'pushing Jell-O uphill on a hot day'? This describes a hopeless task. In this lesson, we will predict hopeful and hopeless reactions. Or put scientifically, predicting spontaneous (hopeful) and non-spontaneous (hopeless) reactions.

The Relationship Between Enthalpy (H), Free Energy (G) and Entropy (S)

15. The Relationship Between Enthalpy (H), Free Energy (G) and Entropy (S)

In this video lesson, we'll study free energy (G) and its relationship to enthalpy, entropy and temperature. You'll also learn why free energy (G) is the single most useful criterion for predicting the spontaneity and direction of a chemical reaction.

Electrochemistry: Free Energy and Cell Potential Energy

16. Electrochemistry: Free Energy and Cell Potential Energy

Our modern lives are totally dependent on electricity. In this lesson, we learn about electricity spontaneously produced by electrochemical cells or batteries. We make the link between the potential energy they produce and Gibbs free energy.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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