, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 715-740
Date: 13 Nov 2012

A mathematical approach to chemical equilibrium theory for gaseous systems—I: theory

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Abstract

Equilibrium theory occupies an important position in chemistry and it is traditionally based on thermodynamics. A novel mathematical approach to chemical equilibrium theory for gaseous systems at constant temperature and pressure is developed. Six theorems are presented logically which illustrate the power of mathematics to explain chemical observations and these are combined logically to create a coherent system. This mathematical treatment provides more insight into chemical equilibrium and creates more tools that can be used to investigate complex situations. Although some of the issues covered have previously been given in the literature, new mathematical representations are provided. Compared to traditional treatments, the new approach relies on straightforward mathematics and less on thermodynamics, thus, giving a new and complementary perspective on equilibrium theory. It provides a new theoretical basis for a thorough and deep presentation of traditional chemical equilibrium. This work demonstrates that new research in a traditional field such as equilibrium theory, generally thought to have been completed many years ago, can still offer new insights and that more efficient ways to present the contents can be established. The work presented here can be considered appropriate as part of a mathematical chemistry course at University level.