Branch Description


Physical Chemistry deals with the study of the effect of chemical structure on the physical properties of molecules, and their relation to the ways in which molecules and atoms are put together. It also work with the principles and methodologies of both chemistry and physics and is the study of how chemical structure impacts physical properties of a substance. Physical chemists typically study the rate of a chemical reaction, the interaction of molecules with radiation, and the calculation of structures and properties.

An example is baking brownies, as you’re mixing materials and using heat and energy to get the final product.

Sub-branches of physical chemistry include:

  • Photochemistry: the study of the chemical changes caused by light, photochemical reactions.
  • Surface chemistry: the study of chemical reactions at surfaces of substances. It includes topics like adsorption, heterogeneous catalysis, formation of colloids, corrosion, electrode processes, and chromatography.
  • Chemical kinetics: the study of the rates of chemical reactions, the factors affecting those rates, and the mechanism by which the reactions proceed.
  • Quantum Mechanics/Quantum Chemistry: the mathematical description of the motion and interaction of subatomic particles. It incorporates quantum mechanics, quantization of energy, wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, and their relationship to chemical processes.
  • Spectroscopy: the use of the absorption, emission, or scattering of electromagnetic radiation by matter to study the matter or the chemical processes it undergoes.
  • Electrochemistry: study of the interaction of atoms, molecules, ions and electric current.
  • Thermodynamics/ Thermochemistry: study of how heat relates to chemical change.

To learn more about physical chemistry check out the resources below:

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