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Questions tagged [physical-chemistry]

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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2answers
296 views

What is the specific source(s) of sliding kinetic friction

In simplistic (K-8) physics classes, it seems to be generally instructed that the friction between two moving surfaces is due to the unevenness of each surface and the microscopic roughness. However, ...
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6answers
2k views

Conservation of Mass and Energy [duplicate]

I was thinking about some physics (relativity in particular), when it suddenly occurred to me that all my life I had been balancing chemical equations assuming conservation of mass, but I was ...
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2answers
197 views

What *really* happens to atoms in chemical reactions?

I am imagining that the occasional oxygen might be floating close enough to a certain calcium atom and take the two electrons, which will ionize them and they will now 'glue'. Maybe the same thing ...
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1answer
146 views

Why are(n’t) rechargeable batteries damaged by partial charging?

Originally asked in ElectricalEngineering.SE, but I was told Physics.SE might be a better place to ask. Over the years, I've come across websites and people with different opinions on the "correct" ...
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2answers
838 views

What would be the first compound formed in the early universe?

This may sound like a chemistry problem, but I suspect this would have lot to do with primordial nucleosynthesis. After all physics underlies everything. It is believed that several elements were ...
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4answers
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Does a proton have a binding energy?

When calculating the $Q$-value, $Q = \Delta M \cdot c^2$, of this reaction: $$ ^6Li \ (\alpha, p)\ ^9Be \quad \iff \quad \alpha + \ ^6Li \ \longrightarrow \ ^9Be + p $$ The $Q$-value can also be ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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How does ATP transfer energy to a reaction?

This is a question for which I've found it surprisingly hard to find a good answer. Biology texts talk mystically about the ATP->ADP reaction providing energy to power other reactions. I'd like to ...
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3answers
757 views

Are chemical bonds matter?

So it recently blew my mind that chemical bonds have mass. And that a spring that's wound up similarly weights a little more. But there is a distinction between mass and matter. I believe that a ...
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3answers
801 views

Why does ice melt, wait for 100 degrees and THEN vaporise? 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
403 views

Why is $\text{CO}$ a good tracer for $\text{H}_2$? How are those molecules correlated?

One often hears that $\text{CO}$ is a good tracer for $\text{H}_2 .$ How are they correlated? How can you deduce from the (measurable) $\text{CO}$ the amount of the (unmeasurable) $\text{H}_2$ in the ...
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1answer
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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 $\...
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2answers
701 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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 bonding ...
7
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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2answers
989 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

Why don't eyes fog up?

I took off my steamy glasses to be able to see and this question came up to my mind. Which is the physical reason for our eyes not fogging up like glasses do?
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767 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 ...
7
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1answer
486 views

Donors/Acceptors in Metal Oxides

Can anyone explain to me why most articles describe chromium as an acceptor in titanium dioxide? In TiO2, titanium has the charge state Ti$^{4+}$ and oxygen has the charge state O$^{2-}$. When Cr ...
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3answers
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How much heat from a fire actually warms your home?

A fire in a hearth disperses heat to, I guess, three places: the bricks of the chimney out the hearth (where the person tending the fire is standing) out the chimney, above the house How would you ...
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4answers
46k views

Is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

As I know a battery is an example of a closed circuit where it can then produce electricity , electrons will flow from negative pole to positive. A chemistry representation of this battery is for ...
6
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1answer
143 views

Why does entropy allow heat to be converted to work?

Physical chemistry has made me question everything. Recently, I was thinking: "why is it even possible to convert heat to work?" From what I learned, a heat engine can take energy in and convert it ...
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3answers
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How would steel degrade in space

If there is a steel plate floating in space, for ever, within the solar system, how is it going to degrade? Of course without oxygen it is not going to oxidize (rust), but how are cosmic rays, UV ...
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2answers
508 views

How does covalent bonding actually work?

How does covalent bonding actually work? Consider the molecule $O_2$, which has a double covalent bond between the oxygen molecules. Chemistry texts say that a double covalent bond occurs because this ...
6
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1answer
246 views

Steam above meal

When I fry something on the pan and the fire is big and intensive (the flame over the pan), there is no stean above the pan or just a little. But when I turn off the fire, suddenly the steam appears, ...
6
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3answers
717 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 ...
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1answer
760 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

Chemical potential interpretation

Something that has bothered me for a while regards the interpretation of chemical potential for different statistics. While I understand its meaning in metals (and its relation with the Fermi surface),...
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3answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
977 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 ...
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2answers
499 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. ...
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1answer
17k views

Can a salt water 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 ...
6
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1answer
360 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 ...
6
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1answer
168 views

What are sigma and pi bonds in physics language?

Chemists often discuss sigma and pi bonds. To a physicist, it's not easy to figure out what these actually are, as discussions tend to be full of lots of chemistry jargon about "antibonding", "...
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1answer
158 views

Can you prove the interesting relation in equilibrium thermodynamics?

Problem and background I noted the following interesting relation in a paper discussing the liquid-vapor phase change, in which it was given directly without any derivation and reference: $$d\ln p^\...
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1answer
1k views

Energy per particle vs. chemical potential vs. evaporation energy

There is a system of $N$ particles. They interact and are bound together with a binding energy $E_\mathrm{b}$ (or potential energy). To characterize the system there are multiple terms: Energy per ...
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1answer
4k 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 ...
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3answers
10k views

Why is the energy density of gasoline so high?

We sometimes play a game in my family whereby we trace the energy for a device back to it's source: The Xbox got power from the wall. The wall got power from the local transformer. The transformer ...
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2answers
2k 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?
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
3k views

Extra vibrational mode in linear molecule

When calculating the number of vibrational modes for a molecule, the formulas differ for linear $(n = 3N - 5)$ and non-linear $(n = 3N - 6)$ molecules, where $n$ is number of modes and $N$ is number ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

Kinetic proof of law of mass action

Suppose we have a chemical reaction of the form $$n_1 \mathrm{A}_1 + \cdots + n_r \mathrm{A}_r \rightleftharpoons m_1 \mathrm{B}_1 + \cdots + m_s \mathrm{B}_s$$ where $\mathrm{A}_i$ and $\mathrm{B}...
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2answers
5k 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 ...
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2answers
28k 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.
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2answers
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Why are only Group III & V elements used for doping?

Only group III & IV are used for doping in elemental semiconductors like Si and Ge, why can't other groups be used instead?
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1answer
2k views

Diffusion of gas in a liquid with changing pressure and solubility (chemical potential)

Modelling the diffusion of a gas dissolved in water in a vertical column of water, several meters deep. Also assuming the water is completely still, so only diffusion plays a role. (Actually a model ...