At the end of the course you are able to
- construct and interpret expressions for microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical partition functions for ideal gas systems
- apply these partition functions to obtain thermodynamic quantities such as energy, free energy and heat capacity
- work with the Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein, and Fermi-Dirac distribution functions to determine the occupancy of energy levels for non-interacting systems
- produce equilibrium and rate constants for reactions in the gas phase based on the molar partition functions
- describe the basic concepts behind Monte Carlo simulations to determine thermodynamic quantities for non-ideal systems
- discuss the origin of the virial coefficients in the virial expansion of the pressure for non-ideal gasses
The course will provide the physico-chemical basis behind thermodynamics by making the connection between the microscopic and macroscopic properties of a system.
Statistical thermodynamics uses the energy states of the molecules in a system, either from quantum mechanics of from experiments, to calculate the macroscopic thermodynamic quantities of the system.
The central role of the Boltzmann distribution and of the partition function will be treated in detail. For a number of relatively simple systems the explicit calculations will be carried out.
Part of these applications of statistical thermodynamics will be treated in the computer tutorials in which physico-chemical processes will be simulated.