Chemical Equilibrium | Department of Chemistry

Chemical Equilibrium

In this course, we adopt a case studies approach to understanding thermodynamic principles already familiar to students from earlier courses. In class we will explore real chemical questions involving equilibrium, acid base chemistry, electrochemistry, surface phenomena and solution chemistry by reading and discussing research papers.


Entropy and Information

  • Absolute temperature
  • Shannon Entropy

Thermodynamics & Thermochemistry

  • First, second and third laws of thermodynamics and their applications in chemistry
  • Enthalpy change and its impact on material science and biology
  • Enthalpies of formation and reaction enthalpies
  • Internal energy, entropy, Gibbs free energy
  • Ideal Gas Law
  • Kinetic Theory of Gases
  • Design of an air bag
  • Maxwell-Boltzmann Distribution

Phase Equilibria

  • Phase diagrams and impact on material sciences
  • Phase transitions
  • Chemical equilibrium and its impact on technology and biochemistry
  • Changes in equilibria with temperature and pressure
  • Colligative properties
  • Raoult's Law
  • Ideal and non-ideal mixtures

Acid-base equilibria

  • Open systems
  • Soil Equilibria & Acid Rain

Chemical Kinetics

  • Determination of rate, order and rate laws
  • Impact of Chemical Kinetics on Biochemistry
  • Oxidation of glucose in biological systems


  • Activation energy
  • Arrhenius equation
  • Kinetics; Mechanisms; Enzymes
  • Reducing Air Pollution from Automobiles

Diffusion across membranes

  • Osmosis and reverse osmosis
  • Design of a water filter
  • Adsorption and Chromatography
  • Ion Exchange columns and water purification

Electrochemistry in biology

  • Nernst Equilibrium Potential
  • Voltage-gated ion channels
  • Photosynthesis and solar cells

Protein-ligand binding

  • Binding free energy
  • Force fields
  • Empirical potentials
  • Conformational freedom
  • Docking & scoring computer lab

Statistical Thermodynamics

  • Microcanonical, Canonical and Grand Canonical Ensembles
  • Partition function
  • Molecular Dynamics computer lab
  • Monte Carlo simulations computer lab
  • Membrane Protein Simulations computer lab

Molecular Reaction Dynamics

  • Transition State
  • Effect of translational and vibrational kinetic energy


  1. Physical chemistry by Peter Atkins, Julio De Paula. Edition: 9th ed. South Asia Edition. Publisher: UK Oxford University Press 2011
  2. Physical chemistry by Gilbert W. Castellan, Edition: 3rd ed. Publisher: New Delhi. : Narosa Publishing House, 1985, 2004 
  3. Basic Physical Chemistry: The Route to Understanding by E. Brian Smith      ISBN:978-1-78826-293-9 Publisher: World Scientific
  4. Elements of Classical Thermodynamics for Advanced Students of Physics by A. B. Pippard [Paperback] ISBN:9780521091015
  5. A Farewell to Entropy: Statistical Thermodynamics Based on Information by Arieh Ben-Naim   ISBN:978-1-270-706-2 Publisher: World Scientific
  6. Physical Chemistry by Thomas Engel, Philip Reid. Publisher: New Delhi Pearson 2006

Other reading materials will be assigned as and when required.

Prerequisites: Chemical Principles (CHY111).

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