Intermolecular Potentials and The Second Virial Coefficient©
Patrick L. Holt
Department of Chemistry and Physics
Bellarmine University
Louisville, KY 40205
United States

Through exercises embedded in this worksheet, students explore the relationship between intermolecular potentials and the second virial coefficient. Students examine and adjust parameters associated with the hard-sphere, square-well, and Lennard-Jones potentials, noting differences while investigating the correlation between the form of these potentials and molecular interactions. They subsequently use these potentials to compute the second virial coefficient and explore the coefficient?s temperature dependence for several substances. As a final exercise, students use computed values of B to investigate the temperature dependence of the compression factor, Z. Based on these computations and the resulting graphs, students assess the dependence of the virial coefficient on molecular interactions and ambient conditions. As a result, students gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the second virial coefficient and its intrinsic relationship to molecular properties.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Physical Chemistry
Topics: Gases, Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics, Physical Properties, Thermodynamics
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
IM Potential Instructor.pdf Non-interactive derived from Mathcad 2001i.
IM Potential Student.pdf Non-interactive derived from Mathcad v2001i.
IMPotentialInstructor2001i.mcd JCE MathCad 2001i Computational Document Mathcad 2001i
IMPotential2001i.mcd JCE MathCad 2001i Computational Document MathCad 2001i
IM Potential Instructor 8.mcd JCE Mathcad 8 Computational Document Mathcad 8
IM Potential Student 8.mcd JCE Mathcad 8 Student Version Mathcad 8
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Holt, Patrick L. J. Chem. Educ. 2004 81, 607.
Comments to: pholt@bellarmine.edu
©Copyright 2004 Journal of Chemical Education