2021 Physical Chemistry (Kinetic Theory of Molecules) A

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Chemical Science and Engineering
Wada Hiroyuki 
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Course description and aims

[Description of the course] In this course, the instructor will explain the kinetic theory of gases, fundamentals of statistical thermodynamics, Boltzmann distributions, molecular partition function, collision theory, and transition state theory.
[Aim of the course] It is important to analyze reaction rates when a chemical reaction is performed. In this course, students acquire the ability to deduce reaction rates by use of collision theory and transition state theory drawn from the kinetic theory of gases and statistical thermodynamics, respectively.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students acquire the following abilities:
(1) Ability to explain pressure and collision of molecules using kinetic theory based on classical mechanics.
(2) Ability to explain the fundamentals of statistical thermodynamics.
(3) Ability to deduce reaction rates using collision theory and transition state theory drawn from classical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics, respectively.


statistical thermodynamics, Boltzmann distribution, molecular partition function, collision theory, transition state theory

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

This course will proceed in the following order:(1) kinetic theory of gases, (2) statistical thermodynamics, (3) molecular dynamics in reactions. On the last day, students will do exercises for checking their comprehension, and the instructor will provide explanation about the exercises.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Kinetic model of gases, Molecular collision in gas phase Explain kinetic model of gases. Derive collision frequency and mean free path.
Class 2 Collision theory Derive reaction rate constants from collision theory.
Class 3 Boltzmann distribution, Molecular partition function Explain Boltzmann distribution. Derive molecular partition functions.
Class 4 thermodynamic function, chemical equilibrium Explain thermodynamic function and chemical equilibrium.
Class 5 Transition state theory, Dynamics of molecular collision Derive reaction rate constants from transition state theory. Explain dynamics of molecular collision.
Class 6 transport phenomena Explain transport phenomena (diffusion, thermal conduction, viscosity).
Class 7 Practice problems and remarks for confirming the level of understanding Solve practice problems by accurately understanding all of the above lectures

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


P. Atkins, J. de Paula, "Physical Chemistry", 10th Ed., Oxford University Press; ISBN-13: 978-0199697403

Reference books, course materials, etc.

None required

Assessment criteria and methods

Final examination (70%), level of class participation (30%) (The level of class participation will be calculated by quizzes and so on in the class.)

Related courses

  • LAS.C107 : Basic Chemical Thermodynamics
  • CAP.B216 : Physical Chemistry I (Thermodynamics)
  • CAP.B217 : Physical Chemistry II (Chemical Equilibrium)
  • CAP.B218 : Physical Chemistry III (Kinetics)

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

The condition of the study will not be made, but it is desirable to study LAS.C107 : Basic Chemical Thermodynamics, CAP.B216 : Physical Chemistry I (Thermodynamics), CAP.B217 : Physical Chemistry II (Chemical Equilibrium), CAP.B218 : Physical Chemistry III (Kinetics).

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Hiroyuki Wada (wada.h.ac[at]m.titech.ac.jp)

Office hours

Make an appointment by an e-mail in advance.

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