Physical Chemistry I--CHEM 3411

Students to be Served: This is an upper divisional physical chemistry course which is required for students who want to pursue B.S. Chem. or B.S. degrees in chemistry, but is optional for students preparing for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and related health professions. These students who pursue ACS certified B.S. Chem. degree will also take the Physical Chemistry II and the associated lab Chem 3402.


  • MATH 1830 or 1920 with a grade of at least C-
  • PHYS 2020/2021 or 2120/2121 with a grade of at least C-
  • CHEM 3211 with a grade of at least C-

Description: This course will cover fundamentals of thermodynamics and kinetics and their application in chemical and biological systems and possible selected topics in the area of surface chemistry, spectroscopy, and macromolecules.
Three lecture hours per week

Textbooks and other materials:

  • Atkins & de Paula, Physical Chemistry, 9th ed. (required)
  • Barrante, Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry, 2nd ed. (optional)
  • Tinoco, Sauer, Wang and Puglisi, Physical Chemistry, Principles and Applications in Biological Sciences, 4th ed. (optional)

Course Objectives: Students will learn the basic laws of thermodynamics and kinetics and apply the laws to predict the equilibrium properties and changes in chemical/biological systems. Students will be familiar with concepts such as internal energy, enthalpy, entropy and free energy and use these concepts to predict/understand phase transitions, chemical equilibrium, solution properties etc. Students will also learn the factors controlling the rate of change and be able to deal with various complex chemical reaction kinetics


Additional objectives include:

  • To improve students' analytical thinking and problem solving skills.

  • To increase students' appreciation of interdisciplinary sciences illustrated by the interaction between chemistry and physics and biology

Course Outline:

  • Properties of Gases

  • First Law of Thermodynamics and Thermochemistry
  • Second Law of Thermodynamics and Free Energy
  • Physical Transformations of Pure Substances
  • Properties of Solutions
  • Chemical Equilibrium
  • Rates of Chemical Reactions
  • Molecules in motion
  • The rate of chemical reaction and chemical kinetics

Grades: A comprehensive final examination will be administered in class at the assigned time. At least one test will be administered in class and graded before the last day to drop. Other tests, quizzes, and graded assignments, weighting, and grade ranges are at the discretion of the instructor.


  • Electronic devices such as cell phones and pagers should be turned off in the classroom.
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be made for students who present a memo from Student Disability Services.
  • Class attendance is expected.
Instructor Homepages
Dr. Yongmei Wang
Dr. Ying-Sing Li

On-line Resources
None currently