Physical Chemistry: Macroscopic Scale: Microscopic Scale (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Title: Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry

  • Physical chemistry is the study of how matter behaves on a molecular and atomic level and how chemical reactions occur.
  • Physical chemistry is the branch of chemistry devoted to the study of the behavior of matter at an atomic or molecular level.
  • Based on their analyses, physical chemists may develop new theories, such as how complex structures are formed. Physical chemists often work closely with materials scientists to research and develop potential uses for new materials.
  • It also involves the study of the properties of substances at different scales, from the macroscopic scale which includes particles that are visible to the naked eye, to the subatomic scale involving extremely small subatomic particles such as electrons.
  • Physical chemistry differs from other branches of chemistry because it employs the concepts and principles of physics to understand chemical systems and reactions.
  • The different scales that this branch of chemistry deals with are described below.

Macroscopic Scale

  • The macroscopic scale involves the substances that are large enough to be visible to the human eye
  • The macroscopic scale is the length scale on which objects or phenomena are large enough to be visible with the naked eye, without magnifying optical instruments.
  • It is the opposite of microscopic
  • Some important quantities that are dealt with on the macroscopic scale include:
  • Melting and boiling points
  • The coefficient of linear thermal expansion
  • Latent heat of vaporization
  • Enthalpy of fusion

Microscopic Scale

  • Microscopic scale deals with properties of substances that can only be seen by the human eye with the help of optical instruments that magnify the substance, such as microscopes.
  • The study of the shapes and structures of crystals fall under this scale. The structures of crystals have an impact on the behavior of large sections of the crystals, which are used in bridges and airplanes.

The Atomic Scale

  • The properties of matter at the atomic scale vary from element to element.
  • However, some elements exhibit similar properties and are grouped together in the periodic table.
  • Some examples of the properties of matter studied in physical chemistry at the atomic scale include atomic mass and atomic number.
  • The value of the atomic radii of elements can be used to determine the bond length of the bond between two atoms in a molecule.

Subatomic Scale

  • Subatomic scale involves the study of particles that are smaller than the size of atoms, generally referred to as subatomic particles.
  • At this scale, the dual nature of particles is the reason that subatomic particles are sometimes referred to as waves or energy.
  • The study of physical chemistry at a very advanced level involves the study of subatomic particles.
  • The study of these particles also has applications in the field of nuclear chemistry.

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