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Basic Chemistry Concepts

Physical Chemistry

rates of reactions, equilibria, refractive index, surface tension, crystallography

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Physical Chemistry, field of science that applies the laws of physics to elucidate the properties of chemical substances and clarify the characteristics of chemical phenomena. The term physical chemistry is usually applied to the study of the physical properties of substances, such as vapor pressure, surface tension, viscosity, refractive index, density, and crystallography, as well as to the study of the so-called classical aspects of the behavior of chemical systems, such as thermal properties, equilibria, rates of reactions, mechanisms of reactions, and ionization phenomena. In its more theoretical aspects, physical chemistry attempts to explain spectral properties of substances in terms of fundamental quantum theory; the interaction of energy with matter; the nature of chemical bonding; the relationships correlating the number and energy states of electrons in atoms and molecules with the observable properties shown by these systems; and the electrical, thermal, and mechanical effects of individual electrons and protons on solids and liquids.


Lewin, Seymour Z., M.S., Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry, New York University.

Article key phrases:

rates of reactions, equilibria, refractive index, surface tension, crystallography, protons, physical properties of substances, vapor pressure, laws of physics, thermal properties, atoms, viscosity, molecules, solids, density, liquids, field of science, matter, relationships, study, number

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