CHEM 531

Physical Chemistry I    (Fall 2023)

Instructor:  Prof. Kirk Peterson (335-7867, Fulmer 102)

Schedule:    T/Th 12:05 - 1:20 pm in Fulmer 125

Office hrs:  by arrangement

Syllabus:   here

Navigation Links:



General notes on homework assignments

(1) Show all work in order to get credit

(2) Use full precision for fundamental constants and masses - the data should dictate the final precision and not your rounding of known constants

(3) All final answers should have appropriate units noted

(4) Be aware of significant figures in your final result (but don't go crazy on them)

(5) No hand-drawn graphs!  Please minimize the use of your calculator's solver button as well as Wolfram Alpha

Exam Solutions

Lecture Schedule (note this is an active document!)

                               Lecture Topics
Aug 21 - 25
   Introductions, terminology, Internal Energy and the 1st Law of Thermodynamics
Aug 28 - Sept 1
   Various changes of state, Enthalpy, review of differential calculus
Sept 4 - 8
   Irreversible adiabatic expansions (Joule & Joule-Thomson); Thermochemistry
Sept 11 - 15
   Thermochemistry continued.  The 2nd law of Thermodynamics/Entropy
Sept 18 -  22
   Calculating entropy in reversible and irreversible processes
Sept 25 - 29
   Tues: Combining the 1st and 2nd laws ; Thurs: 1st hour exam
Oct 2 - 6
    Focusing on the system: free energy
Oct 9 - 13
   Effects of T and P on G; Real gases and the fugacity
Oct 16 - 20
   Phase equilibria of pure substances
Oct 23 - 27
  Thermodynamics of simple mixtures
Oct 30 - Nov 3
  Non-ideal solutions; partial molar quantities
Nov 6 - 10
  Electrolyte solutions
Nov 13 - 17
  Tues.: 2nd hour exam (through partial molar quantities)
Nov 20 - 24
     Thanksgiving Break - no class
Nov 27 - Dec 1
  Chemical equilibria (T-dependent K example)
Dec 4 - 8
  Odd and ends with some review on Tuesday.  No class meeting on Thursday
Dec 14, 10:30am

  FINAL EXAM (cumulative)


2 hour exams 550
homework 150
final exam 300
total 1000

Scale (broad strokes, see syllabus for +/- breakdown):

850 - 1000  A
650 - 800    B
< 600          C

Additional Resources

Academic Integrity: I encourage you to work with classmates on homework assignments. However, each student must turn in original work. No copying will be accepted (this includes copying from textbooks or prior semester homeworks). Students who violate WSU’s Policy on Academic Integrity will receive an F as a final grade in this course.

Students with Disabilities:
Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Access Center. All accommodations MUST be approved through them (Washington Building, Room 217). Please stop by or call them at 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist