Study of macroscopic and microscopic phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical laws and concepts [thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, kinetic theory, quantum mechanics...].

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21
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2k views

Could the Periodic Table have been done using group theory?

These three questions are phrased as alternative-history questions, but my real intent is to understand better how well different modeling approaches fit the phenomena they are used to describe; see 1 ...
18
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3answers
10k views

Why does the water rise?

It's a very popular experiment (eg), from elementary school : put a burning candle on a dish filled with water, cover the candle with an inverted glass: after a little while, the candle flame goes ...
16
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5answers
2k views

When I stretch a rubber band, it breaks. When I hold the broken ends together, why doesn't it join again?

The question is simple. When we join the two broken surfaces, what is it that keeps the surfaces from connecting with each other, while earlier they were attached to each other? Also, would the two ...
16
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3answers
743 views

Why the distribution of elements on Earth?

I've been wondering exactly why the elements are distributed the way they are on Earth. The heavier elements have their origins in the centers of stars, or in supernovae. After the death of the stars, ...
15
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6answers
2k views

Where should a physicist go to learn chemistry?

I took an introductory chemistry course long ago, but the rules seemed arbitrary, and I've forgotten most of what I learned. Now that I have an undergraduate education in physics, I should be able to ...
15
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4answers
2k views

Boiling water and salt

I would like to have a good understanding of what is happening when you add salt to boiling water. My understanding is that the boiling point will be higher, thus lengthening the process (obtaining ...
14
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6answers
7k views

How was Avogadro's number first determined?

I read on Wikipedia how the numerical value of Avogadro's number can be found by doing an experiment, provided you have the numerical value of Faraday's constant; but it seems to me that Faraday's ...
14
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3answers
19k views

Why do grapes in a microwave oven produce plasma?

Some of you may know this experience (Grape + Microwave oven = Plasma video link): take a grape that you almost split in two parts, letting just a tiny piece of skin making a link between each ...
12
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3answers
316 views

Chemical reaction as state transition?

When considering diffusion of chemicals, the reaction part is business of chemical kinetics, where the relevant characteristics of different substances come from collision theory together with some ...
9
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7answers
7k views

Explanation of “thermite vs ice” explosion

There are several videos of the reaction, where some amount of burning thermite explodes on a contact with ice. An "original" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuPjlYxUWc8 A Mythbusters ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Is the Mendeleev table explained in quantum mechanics?

Does anybody know if there exists a mathematical explanation of Mendeleev table in quantum mechanics? In some textbooks (for example in F.A.Berezin, M.A.Shubin. The Schrödinger Equation) the authors ...
8
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2answers
600 views

Is mass-energy conversion in chemical reactions experimentally observable

This is a common point of argument on internet forums. I think it is fairly well established theoretically that there is a very small amount of mass converted to energy in an exothermic chemical ...
8
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3answers
667 views

What is the angular momentum spectrum of an sp${}^3$ electron?

So, one thing has been annoying me ever since I learned about orbital hybridization: you explain the shape of molecules by postulating that the orbitals of multi-electron atoms are linear combinations ...
8
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2answers
393 views

Explaining valence with quantum mechanics

Can anyone give me a quantum mechanical explanation of the theory of valence? (i.e. why atoms bond just enough to have a complete orbital) EDIT: To clarify, I already have an idea of why atoms bond, ...
7
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3answers
3k views

What makes the difference between ionic and covalent bonds?

Backstory: When I learned about chemical reactions, there were two types of molecular bonds: Ionic, where an atom or compound molecule with a low valence number loses those valence electron(s) to one ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why does ice have a lower density than water?

Can someone explain me why is ice lighter than water? As I know, all solids are usually heavier than the liquids (correct me if I am wrong).
7
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3answers
469 views

What is the quantum mechanical explanation of the octet rule?

What is the quantum mechanical explanation of the octet rule? In other words, what makes the octet rule be true from a quantum mechanical view? How we explain what makes some atoms don't follow the ...
7
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2answers
11k views

Why does a salt solution conduct electrical current?

How does e.g. sodium chloride (aq) conduct electricity? By accepting electrons (unlikely since they already have a full outer shell)? But they can't be hopping around themselves, can they? I mean, if ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Why is quicksilver (mercury) liquid at room temperature?

This is a nice question when you find it out, and I am really looking for a proper answer. Take quicksilver (Hg) in the periodic table. It has one proton more than Gold (melting point 1337.33 K), and ...
7
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1answer
83 views

Does an electric field create a pH gradient?

Since pH is a measure of the effective concentration of $\mathrm{H}^+$ ions a solution, I expect that an electric field applied to a solution will create a pH gradient. The higher concentration of ...
7
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2answers
270 views

How much Bicarbonate of Soda and Vinegar would I need to reach space?

So here is my problem - as part of my job I present some science demonstrations to children and one of the tricks I regularly use is the bicarb/acetic acid rocket. I thought the other day that a ...
6
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4answers
4k views

Why do covalent bonds form?

why in a covalent bond are "the bonded electrons are in a lower energy state than if the individual atoms held them at the same proximity"? Also is it correct that " I think when you start pushing ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How are the calories in food calculated?

This is intended to be a fun question. Calorimetry used for calculating the heat generated from chemical changes has been around for centuries, however, I suspect the process for calculating food ...
6
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1answer
149 views

Why can we skate on ice? [duplicate]

I have known the reason why skate can slide over ice is that water's melting curve in terms of pressure and temperature has a negative slope. If the pressure due to our mass increases sufficiently ...
6
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2answers
342 views

Statistical Mechanics treatment of the reaction process?

I'm searching for an at least semi-rigorous Statistical Mechanics description/treatment of a (spatially resolved) chemical reaction process of a macroscopic portion of at least two different species ...
6
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1answer
123 views

Handling halogen lamps

When consulting manuals, electricians, online sources, etc., they always instruct you to handle halogen light bulbs with gloves. The "explanation" that usually accompanies this statement is that oils ...
6
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7answers
2k views

Is there any reproducible tested evidence for Ni-H cold fusion?

The main replications of cold fusion, the ones that are beyond reproach, used Pd/d as the system. But commercial developers have often claim to use Ni-H to achieve similar effects. The claims include ...
5
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3answers
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Why is the canonical ($NVT$) ensemble often used for (classical) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations?

Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is a common approach to the (classical) many-body problem. It relies on integration of Newton's equations of motion to simulate the trajectories of many (e.g., ...
5
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2answers
262 views

Solidification by the application of heat

When you add heat to a liquid (or a fluid), can it be solidified? If not, why in the world does an egg's stuffs become solid (or at least no more a liquid) when you 'boil' it in water?
5
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3answers
651 views

Why is Avogadro's hypothesis true?

Why is the number of molecules in a standard volume of gas at a standard temperature and pressure a constant, regardless of the molecule's composition or weight? Let's say I have a closed box full of ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Why are the noble metals inert?

I am wondering: The noble 'gases' are inert because they have closed shells and don't want to give that up. But the noble metals, such as Copper, Silver, Rhodium, Gold, don't seem to have this. For ...
5
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1answer
276 views

Can a saltwater solution conduct electricity forever? [closed]

We know that very pure water does not conduct electricity, but salt water is a decent conductor. This is commonly explained by saying that "the ions carry the current through the solution", an ...
5
votes
2answers
298 views

In condensed matter simulations, how is particle number density computed in practice?

I have been reading a recent paper. In it, the authors performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of parallel-plate supercapacitors, in which liquid resides between the parallel-plate electrodes. ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

What equation describes the electrostatic potential in these circumstances?

I have a solver for Poisson's equation and it works nicely. It uses finite differences. It works in the presence of multiple dielectrics. It also solves the Poisson Boltzmann equation. That is, fixed ...
5
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2answers
821 views

What happens to chemical compunds that include radioactive nuclei, when those decay?

Say you have a chemical compound made up of one or more radioactive nuclei. If the nucleus decays, does the compound? Possible outcomes I can think of: the compounds continues to exist if a ...
5
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2answers
141 views

Why does ice melts, waits for 100 degrees and THEN vaporises? Why is not the process of expansion of things continuous?

What I am asking is this: Why can't a body be solid, then solid-ish, then solid-like, then liquid-like, then liquid-ish, then liquid, then vapor-like and then vapor? Why is there a rigid temperature ...
5
votes
2answers
281 views

The AntiBonding Orbital with Shrinking Interatomic Distance

I guess this is more of a chemistry question, but whatever. I think it's interesting. Suppose you had two bare atomic nuclei. For concreteness, lets assume the nuclei are the same with atomic ...
5
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0answers
91 views

What is the most stable nuclide of an isobar?

From the semi-empirical mass formula, the mass of an atomic nucleus is $$M\left(A,Z\right)=Zm_p+(A-Z)m_n-\frac{E_b(A,Z)}{c^2}$$ I've been told (at first) that for a given mass number $A$, the most ...
4
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2answers
240 views

Frequency of touch, taste, and scent [closed]

So I was thinking about sound - and how anything below 20Hz is basically inaudible to humans (because it is too low of a frequency to be recognized), as well as anything above around 20KHz (because it ...
4
votes
3answers
246 views

Do electrons in multi-electron atoms really have definite angular momenta?

Since the mutual repulsion term between electrons orbiting the same nucleus does not commute with either electron's angular momentum operator (but only with their sum), I'd assume that the electrons ...
4
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3answers
533 views

Nanorobots. What stops us from producing them yet?

If we can already predicts accuratelly motion on molecular levels, what stops us from developing small robots to, for instance, navigate through our blood vessels looking for cancerous cells and ...
4
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3answers
4k views

is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

First , i don't know much about chemistry and physics. I'm just a graphic designer but i have this question in my mind. I'm sorry if this question is too basic and use 'generic' language. As i know ...
4
votes
1answer
333 views

What is the purpose of a “protect from light” warning?

Some food or medical items, like rasberry juice concentrate I just bought, have a "protect from light" warning on the label. How can light influence products like milk and what does this warning mean ...
4
votes
2answers
82 views

Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) Sap & Freezing

This may or may not be the appropriate scientific discipline to ask this question of, but I'll give it a shot. I'll happily invite chemists to chime in as well. It's time to tap sugar maples in the ...
4
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1answer
2k views

How to know what materials are good conductors of electricity?

I'm not asking a question like "Is the wood conductive?". No. I'm asking what properties do they have to have to be good conductors. Theoretically I mean. Thanks.
4
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2answers
233 views

Why do some things crystallize? (And others don't, for that matter.)

Ice, for example, will form a crystal when frozen under certain circumstances. Why is this the case for ice? While on the subject of water crystallization, why do snowflakes usually form in base 6 ...
4
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4answers
216 views

Dissolving oxygen into water

I was wondering how one would actually calculate how much oxygen would dissolve into water given the necessary initial conditions, and what those initial conditions would need to be. I assume they ...
4
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1answer
245 views

Can we model Chemical Reactions using Quantum Mechanics? If so, what is the most complex reaction we can model?

Not a physicist or Chemist, just interested in QM and it's applications. I've been reading lately about Quantum Chemistry and it occurred to me that since we can model electron orbitals in QM and ...
4
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1answer
346 views

Addition of a neutral electrolyte to water— how can it increase conductivity?

Sparked off by Is sea water more conductive than pure water because "electrical current is transported by the ions in solution"? This question really belongs on chemistry.SE, which is ...
4
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1answer
245 views

Physical Chemistry: What's the relationship between orbital overlap and barrier shape?

This is a question for the physical chemists out there. For a given chemical reaction there is a barrier to traverse in order to proceed from reactants to products. Reactants e.g. an organic base ...