What is thermochemistry?

2 Answers
Aug 31, 2015

Thermochemistry is the study of energy and heat connected with chemical reactions. E.g. exothermic and endothermic reactions and the changes in energy.


When a reaction takes place, bonds between atoms are broken and then reformed. Energy is required to break bonds, and energy is released when they are formed. This is usually in the form of heat. Different reactions have different ratios of used energy to released energy, which determines whether it is endothermic (takes in more energy from it's surroundings than it release) or exothermic (releases more energy than it takes in).

Some examples of exothermic reactions are: any form of combustion (think of the heat released when you burn fuel), neutralisation and most oxidation reactions.

Some examples of endothermic reactions are: electrolysis, decomposition and evaporation.

The study of these processes, and the factors involved, is known as thermochemistry.

Hope this helps, let me know if you need any more help of any kind:) I should be able to get back to you in a day or two.

Sep 2, 2015

Thermochemistry is the study of energy transfer with regard to physical and chemical reactions.


Thermochemistry is a sub-branch of thermodynamics, the study of energy transfer. It developed from the study of heat engines (specifically steam engines), in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Two fundamental principles of thermochemistry are: (i) the energy change associated with any process is equal and opposite to the reverse process (due to Laplace), and (ii) the energy change for a series of stepwise processes or reactions is the same as that of the entire process (Hess' law). (These follow fundamental laws of thermodynamics, the first being " You can't win ", and the second, " You can't break even either ". )

These are posed as laws rather than theories in that there has never been an observed physical or chemical process that has violated these laws. This means that when you hear of spectacular claims of free energy, you can dismiss them out of hand.