Chem 254 - Thermodynamics I  (May-August 2017)

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Chem 254 Bulletin
Website last updated at 2021-05-28 14:26

  • All lectures will be held in STC-50 on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30-9:50 am.  There will be TWO 1.5 hours lectures each week for about 10 weeks.

  • The term test dates are set in stone and cannot be changed.

  • The recommended text (Thermodynamics by Engel and Reid) is a required textbook.  Practical problems will be taken from the textbook and the students are expected to do them (even though they will not be counted).  It is expected that these assigned problems will be similar, in style, to questions in the term tests that will be counted towards the grade. 

  • For other references, almost any physical chemistry textbooks can be used for the course. 

  • TA on DUTY:  Regular office hours in C2-063 or 065 on Fridays 12:30-13:20. 
    Please feel free to contact the TA by email if you need help anytime.

  • Get the course outline at the above link.  




READ Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5. 6, 4  Either edition of the textbook is fine and problems on either edition are acceptable.  Please try out some problems to test your understanding of the materials.  Any problem is a good problem.
REVIEW first-year calculus - particularly concepts of functions of two variables and partial derivatives.

Coming soon


All lecture notes are available also at LEARN.

ALL the recorded assignments and pop-quizzes are available for pickup outside my office (C2-066A).

Office hours:  Thursday & Friday - ALL day - come any time and look for me in C2-066A (my office) or in C2-059-081 (WATLab).  If this is not convenient, then please make appointment with me by email.


 Term Test 1 solution posted at LEARN.

 Term Test 2 solution posted at LEARN, and marked test papers are available outside C2-066A.

Final exam date has been set on August 2 (Wednesday) 4-6:30 pm in PAC 9, 10, 11 by Scheduling.  See Data Sheet given on the exam.

PAC Access

Construction has reduced access to some areas of PAC during final exams. Red North and everything associated with it (entry/exit, washrooms, stairwell, hallways leading to/from, etc.) are inaccessible and as a result, everyone is asked to enter the building from the Ring Road side through the Red South or Blue South doors.  Proctors will be instructed to allow students in to the gym 15 minutes before the start of the exam period to alleviate any confusion or congestion.

Please fill out teaching evaluation at


Please hand in the last assignment to my office (C2-066A).



Week CLASS LOG:  What have we learned today?  Reading Assignment
Engel & Reid

Lecture notes are available at LEARN for download.

Problem Set
Engel & Reid
[Hand in only the questions listed below.  Try also the other red coloured problems not listed below.]
1 <May 2>  Opener: Scope and course orientation | Basic concepts: System & Universe; Equilibrium; State variables
<May 4>
 Ideal gas: equation of state, internal energy, compressibility
Chapter 1
Ideal Gas

P1.2, 1.6, 1.8 1.12, 1.17
Due: May 16
2 <May 9>  | Real gas: empirical equations of state | van der Waals gas | Simple one-component phase diagram (PVT) - Isotherm
<May 11>
 | First law: State functions; Work; Heat; DU-Energy in transit | Math tutorial: Review of differentials
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

First Law
Exact Differentials
P2.2, 2.7, 2.10
 Due: June 1
3 <May 16>  Adiabatic and isothermal processes Isochoric process; Isobaric process and enthalpy H
<May 18>
 Heat capacities CP & CV | Molecular interpretation of CV
Processes P3.2, 3.4
P2.14, 2.18, 2.24, 2.28
Due: June 13
<May 23>  Lecture cancelled due to the Monday holiday but this lecture will be made up at the end of term.
<May 25> Reversible and irreversible processes | Example of isothermal expansion of an IG: reversible vs irreversible case
Reversible & Irreversible Processes
Observation of Non-ideality
P3.9, 3.13, 3.17, 3.22
Due: June 13
5 <May 30>  Lecture cancelled
<June 1> 
| Example of adiabatic expansion of an IG: reversible vs irreversible case
Chapter 5 Q5.1-5.10
Due: Jume 27
6 <June 6>   | Non-ideality: Joule & Joule-Thomson experiments | Linde refrigerator
<June 8> 
| Second law: Spontaneity; Entropy S | Clausius inequality; Four examples of spontaneous changes  | Third law: Temperature and absolute zero
Second Law
Examples of Spontaneous & Irreversible Changes
Heat Engines & Refrigerators
P5.3, 5.4, 5.7, 5.11, 5.16
Due: June 27
7 <June 13>   | Applications of spontaneity: Heat engines; Carnot cycle
<June 15>
 | Refrigerators | Example to derive the internal pressure | Example to predict spontaneity
Internal Pressure
General Condition for Spontaneity
Free Energy
P5.21, 5.24
Due: July 13
8 <June 20>  In-class Term Test #1  [on materials covered in weeks 1-7 (up to and including Carnot cycle)] Sample Data Sheet  

In-class Term Test 1 on June 20 (Tuesday) at 8:30-9:45 am:
Students with surnames beginning with A to L write in STC-050.
Students with surnames beginning with M to Z write in STC 020.

<June 22>  Free energies: Helmholtz A; Gibbs G; Applications to predicting spontaneity; Examples | Non-expansion work condition |

Chapter 6 Q6.1-6.11
P6.4, 6.6, 6.9, 6.12
Due: July 13
9 <June 27>   Relations for a closed system in equilibrium: The six BASIC thermodynamic equations |  Gibbs equations; Maxwell relations
<June 29>
 | The "magic" thermodynamic square! | The need for these equations | Gibbs-Helmholtz equation 
Thermodynamic Relations for a Closed System
Need for Gibbs Equations and Maxwell Relations

Gibbs-Helmholtz Equation
P4.13, 4.15, 4.17
Due: July 25
10 <July 4>  | Thermo-chemistry  | Relations for non-equilibrium systems: 
<July 6> 
Extension of Gibbs equations to multi-phase, multi-component systems | Phase and Material equilibria
Chapter 4

Thermodynamic Relations for an Open System

P6.16, 6.19, 6.21, 6.29
Due: July 25
11 <July 11>  In-class Term Test #2  [on materials covered in weeks 1-9 (inclusive) with emphasis on weeks 5,6,7,8]  Sample Data Sheet 
In-class Term Test 2 on July 11 (Tuesday) at 8:30-9:45 am:

Students with surnames beginning with A to L write in STC-040.
Students with surnames beginning with M to Z write in STC 050.

<July 13> 
| Some examples of chemical potentials: Pure ideal gas case | Reaction equilibrium of two ideal gases:  Chemical potential;  Fugacity; Activity coefficient  
Chemical Potential
Material Equilibrium
Examples of Chemical Potential
12 <July 18>  | Equilibrium constants | van't Hoff equation
<July 20> 
Phase rule and phase equilibrium | Course wrap up 
Equilibrium Constants
Phase Equilibrium and Phase Rule

<Aug 2>  Wednesday, 4-6:30 pm; PAC 9, 10, 11
Final Exam -
Everything in the lecture notes, plus Chapters 1-6.



Frequently Asked Questions

Need to review the first-year chemistry?  
Go to the following website and do some of the on-line quizzes in Chapters 6 and 7 there.

Does one need to buy the textbook?
  Yes, we need the textbook because we will use the questions at the back of the chapters as practice problems.  But almost any physical chemistry textbook can be used for this course.  Please note that the Engel-Reid textbook will be used in other chemistry course, such as Statistical Mechanics and Chemical Kinetics.

Problems in downloading pdf files?
<1> Make sure your PDF reader is up to date - If not, go to the Adobe site and get the latest reader.  
<2> Try right-click on the filename, select either <Save target as...> or <Save link as...> (depending on which browser you are using) and save this file in a directory that you can read back later.
<3> If everything fails, call/e-mail me and I shall give/e-mail you a copy.
<4> There is a hardcopy of the solution manual at the library.

Mark review policy  As per discussion in class.