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Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Physical Chemistry | 3 comments

Physical Chemistry – Overview of Thermodynamics

In one example I use bond energies to calculate the energy per mole of sucrose and TNT (the explosive trinitrotoluene). Most students expect that TNT has more energy, but it turns out the two have about the same. So why is TNT an explosive (actually a conflagration)? TNT burns rapidly and involves a huge volume change. It is the rate of reaction (chemical kinetics) and the rapid volume change that causes the explosive damage. Then I can move to the thermodynamics overview.

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Physical Chemistry | 0 comments

Teaching physical chemistry–lecture recording?

Although the obvious “pro” of recording is to give students the chance to listen numerous times; review the material; and listen to missed lectures, there is a huge “con” and that is they skip class and opt to listen to my lectures at home. Last year the attendance dropped to half because lectures are available on line, but this year the time has been shifted to 8:30 a.m. from 10:30. I am going to predict that very few will want to attend at that hour.

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