Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, atomic, subatomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of laws and concepts of physics. It applies the principles, practices and concepts of physics such as motion, energy, force, time, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics and dynamics.
Physical chemistry, in contrast to chemical physics, is predominantly (but not always) a macroscopic or supra-molecular science, as the majority of the principles on which physical chemistry was founded, are concepts related to the bulk rather than on molecular/atomic structure alone. For example, chemical equilibrium, and colloids.
Some of the relationships that physical chemistry strives to resolve include the effects of:
- Intermolecular forces that act upon the physical properties of materials (plasticity, tensile strength, surface tension in liquids).
- Reaction kinetics on the rate of a reaction.
- The identity of ions and the electrical conductivity of materials.
- Surface chemistry and electrochemistry of membranes.
Famous quotes containing the words physical and/or chemistry:
“There could be no fairer destiny for any physical theory than that it should point the way to a more comprehensive theory in which it lives on as a limiting case.”
—Albert Einstein (18791955)
“...some sort of false logic has crept into our schools, for the people whom I have seen doing housework or cooking know nothing of botany or chemistry, and the people who know botany and chemistry do not cook or sweep. The conclusion seems to be, if one knows chemistry she must not cook or do housework.”
—Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards (18421911)