Reaction dynamics

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Reaction dynamics is a field within physical chemistry, studying why chemical reactions occur, how to predict their behavior, and how to control them. It is closely related to chemical kinetics, but is concerned with individual chemical events on atomic length scales and over very brief time periods.[1]


In 1986, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Dudley Herschbach, Yuan T. Lee, and John C. Polanyi "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes",[2] specifically crossed molecular beams and infrared chemiluminescence. These techniques probe the chemical physics associated with molecular collisions, such as how energy is distributed between translation, vibration, rotation, and electronic modes.

Properties of Gases[edit]

First Law of Thermodynamics[edit]

The first law of thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation of energy, deals with the amount of work that can be done by a chemical or physical process and the amount of heat that is absorbed or evolved. Thermochemistry, which deals with the heat produced by chemical reactions and solution processes, is based on the first law. Since the internal energy of a system (U) can be changed a given amount by either heat (q) or work (w), the internal energy of a system can be represented (in Joules) as:

ΔU = q + w

This equation states the postulates of the first law which are

1. The internal energy is a function of the state variables for the system.
2. The change (ΔU) for a process in a closed system may be calculated using the equation above.

On the basis of the first law, tables of enthalpies of formation that may be used to calculate enthalpy changes for reactions that have not yet been studied. Using information on heat capacities of reactants and products makes it possible to calculate the heat of reaction at a temperature where it has not previously been studied.

Second Law of Thermodynamics[edit]

Material, Reaction and Phase Equilibria[edit]

Standard Thermodynamic Functions of Reactions[edit]

Real Gases[edit]


Multicomponent Phase Equilibrium[edit]

Reaction Kinetics[edit]


  1. ^ Levine, Raphael (2005). Molecular Reaction Dynamics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. xi. ISBN 0-521-84276-X. 
  2. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1986". Retrieved 2008-10-06.