A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Classically, chemical reactions encompass changes that only involve the positions of electrons in the forming and breaking of chemical bonds between atoms, with no change to the nuclei (no change to the elements present), and can often be described by a chemical equation. Nuclear chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry that involves the chemical reactions of unstable and radioactive elements where both electronic and nuclear changes may both occur.
The substance (or substances) initially involved in a chemical reaction are called reactants or reagents. Chemical reactions are usually characterized by a chemical change, and they yield one or more products, which usually have properties different from the reactants. Reactions often consist of a sequence of individual sub-steps, the so-called elementary reactions, and the information on the precise course of action is part of the reaction mechanism. Chemical reactions are described with chemical equations, which graphically present the starting materials, end products, and sometimes intermediate products and reaction conditions.
Chemical thermodynamics is the study of the interrelation of heat and work with chemical reactions or with physical changes of state within the confines of the laws of thermodynamics. Chemical thermodynamics involves not only laboratory measurements of various thermodynamic properties, but also the application of mathematical methods to the study of chemical questions and the spontaneity of processes.
The structure of chemical thermodynamics is based on the first two laws of thermodynamics. Starting from the first and second laws of thermodynamics, four equations called the "fundamental equations of Gibbs" can be derived. From these four, a multitude of equations, relating the thermodynamic properties of the thermodynamic system can be derived using relatively simple mathematics. This outlines the mathematical framework of chemical thermodynamics.
Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, atomic, subatomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of laws and concepts of physics. It applies the principles, practices and concepts of physics such as motion, energy, force, time, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics and dynamics, equilibrium.
Physical chemistry, in contrast to chemical physics, is predominantly (but not always) a macroscopic or supra-molecular science, as the majority of the principles on which physical chemistry was founded, are concepts related to the bulk rather than on molecular/atomic structure alone. For example, chemical equilibrium, and colloids.
The enthalpy of mixing (also called heat of mixing) is the heat that is taken up or released upon mixing of two (non-reacting) chemical substances. When the enthalpy of mixing is positive, mixing is endothermic while negative enthalpy of mixing signifies exothermic mixing. In ideal mixtures the enthalpy of mixing is null.
A well-known approximation for calculating the heat of mixing is Flory–Huggins solution theory for polymer solutions.
The enthalpy of solution, enthalpy of dissolution, or heat of solution is the enthalpy change associated with the dissolution of a substance in a solvent at constant pressure resulting in infinite dilution.
The enthalpy of solution is most often expressed in kJ/mol at constant temperature. The energy change can be regarded as being made of three parts, the endothermic breaking of bonds within the solute and within the solvent, and the formation of attractions between the solute and the solvent. An ideal solution has an enthalpy of solution of zero. For a non-ideal solution it is an excess molar quantity.