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Chapter 2 : Energy Entropy and Fundamental Thermodynamic Concepts

By White, W. M.

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Book Id: WPLBN0000688288
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 838.75 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Chapter 2 : Energy Entropy and Fundamental Thermodynamic Concepts  
Author: White, W. M.
Language: English
Subject: Science., Physics, Physics--Research
Collection: Physics Literature
Publication Date:
Physics Literature

Excerpt: The Thermodynamic Perspective. We defined geochemistry as the application of chemical knowledge and techniques to solve geological problems. It is appropriate, then, to begin our study of geochemistry with a review of physical chemistry. Our initial focus will be on thermodynamics. Strictly defined, thermodynamics is the study of energy and its transformations. Chemical reactions and changes of states of matter inevitably involve energy changes. By using thermodynamics to follow the energy, we will find that we can predict the outcome of chemical reactions, and hence the state of matter in the Earth. In principle at least, we can use thermodynamics to predict at what temperature a rock will melt and the composition of that melt, and we can predict the sequence of minerals that will crystallize to form an igneous rock from the melt. We can predict the new minerals that will form when that igneous rock undergoes metamorphism, and we can predict the minerals and the composition of the solution that forms when that metamorphic rocks weathers. Thus thermodynamics allows us to understand (in the sense that we defined understanding in Chapter 1) a great variety of geologic processes.

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