Show Summary Details

p. 383. Bridging matterlocked

  • Peter Atkins


‘Bridging matter’ introduces statistical thermodynamics, which provides the link between the notional insides and outsides of atoms and molecules. It identifies the bulk properties of a sample with the average behaviour of all the molecules that constitute it. A key concept is the Boltzmann distribution, which shows the exponentially decaying function of the energy of molecules as temperature is increased. It captures two aspects of chemistry: stability and reactivity. Statistical thermodynamics is used by physical chemists to understand the composition of chemical reaction mixtures that have reached equilibrium. It also provides an explanation of Le Chatelier's principle, which states that a system at equilibrium responds to a disturbance by tending to oppose its effect.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.