Atoms And Molecules

Avogadro's constant

6.02x1023. This is the number of molecules in 12g of carbon 12. It is also the number of molecules in exactly one mole of atoms.



This is the standard unit of measurement for "amount of substance." One mole of a substance contains 6.02 x 1023 molecules. 


Molar mass:

The weight of one mole of an element. This can be found above an element symbol on the periodic table.


Conversion between molecules, mass, and moles

How many molecules are in 35.5 g of "Cl"_2 ? | Socratic

Kinetic theory of matter

The kinetic molecular theory of matter states that: matter is made up of particles that are continually moving. All particles have energy, but the energy varies depending on the temperature of the matter.

Brownian motion is the constant erratic movement of small particles suspended in a liquid or gas when viewed under a microscope. This is caused by the constant bombardment from the molecules in the medium. This provides evidence for the kinetic theory of matter.


Thermal Concepts

Internal energy

Internal Energy is the sum of all random kinetic energies and mutual potential energies of the particles of the body or system. It is measured in joules (J).


Average Kinetic energy: The average amount of energy stored in each particle due to its motion. The faster it vibrates or moves, the more kinetic energy

Potential Energy: The energy required to stretch the intermolecular bonds. 



This is a measure of how hot or cold a substance is. More specifically, it is a measure of the random average kinetic energy. It is measured in °C or K.

K=C+273K = C + 273

The average kinetic energy of a molecule is given by this equation (in data booklet):




Heat is the transfer of energy from a high temperature to a low temperature. The transfer occurs until both objects are at Thermal equilibrium

Heat transfer

Conduction: When the molecules at one end of a solid object are given energy, they vibrate more. This disturbs the neighboring molecules and passing the energy along.

Convection: The transfer of heat energy via liquid or gas. When heated fluid expands, marking it less dense, causing it to rise in the surrounding denser cooler fluid.

Radiation is the direct transfer from one body to another via infrared radiation. Bodies of darker color both radiate and absorb the best.


Thermal capacity

The heat required to raise the temperature of a body by 1k.

Formula: Q=cT

Unlike specific heat capacity, this does not require mass.


Specific heat capacity

Specific heat capacity: Amount of energy (joules) required to raise 1kg of a substance by one degree (Kelvin or Celcius). Measured in J/kg°K

Formula: $$c=Q/{mΔT}$$

The change in thermal energy is equal to mass times specific heat capacity times by change in temperature. 


Example question and answer

Jacob has 1500g  of water, which is at 17°C. How much heat must he add in joules, for the water to begin to boil? The specific heat capacity of water is 4.2 KJ/kg°C. 

  1. First, pull out the values needed from the question:
    • Change temperature = 100-17= 83°C 
    • Mass = 1500g = 1.5kg
    • SHC = 4.2 KJ/g°C.= 4200j
  2. Then put into the formula:
    • Q=4.2×1.5×83=522.9 kj

Specific latent heat

Specific Latent Heat: Energy required to change the state of 1 kg of a substance. The unit is  j/kg

When you change the state of a substance, the energy stops being used to change the temperature but instead to break the bonds. Because of this, during a period of state change, the temperature will remain constant. 

The amount of energy required to change the state of a substance is called the latent heat. Latent is a word which means that something exists yet is hidden, so this is the "hidden temperature" change. 



Fusion and vaporization

Since there are two state changes, there are also two types of specific latent heat

Latent heat of fusion: Energy (kJ) to change a solid into a liquid

Latent heat of vaporization: Energy (kJ) to turn a fluid into a gas.


Calculating Latent heat changes

The energy to change the state is equal to mass times specific latent heat for that state.

Image result for Latent heat


Modeling An Ideal Gas

Assumptions of an ideal gas

The IB will usually only ask for three assumptions, so if you remember these you have a very high chance of getting full points on any relevant question.

Image result for ideal gasImage result for ideal gas


Ideal gas law

pV=nrTpV = nrT


Boyles law


Types of processes

Thermodynamic cycle: A set of operations which ultimately return to its original state

Image result for thermodynamics cycle


The Mother of all Physics Questions

This really is the hardest multi-choice question on this topic.




A: C (W=f*d and f = A * P therefore W = P * change in V )


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