Structural Biochemistry/Thermodynamics

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Thermodynamics is the study of energy and its interconversion. It is the branch of physics that studies temperature, heat, and other macroscopic properties.

The science of thermodynamics began in the nineteenth century with the need to describe the operation of steam engines and to set limits of what they were capable of doing. Thus, the name itself denotes the power developed from heat, which used the steam engine as the initial example. Observations of engines were then generalized, which later became the first and second law of thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics also limit a cell's growth to a narrow temperature range. So, the heat increases the molecular movement within the proteins. The species grows within a specific thermal range since its proteins have evolved to endure that range. Proteins tend to denature or function very slow for growth if it is outside the range. [Microbiology]

In chemistry, thermodynamics predicts the spontaneity of a process rather than the kinetics of the process. It takes into account only the final and the initial states and does not require knowledge of the pathway between reactants and products. It is a state function. It is the study of heat in chemical reactions and the change of physical state in correspondence to the laws of thermodynamics.

A system defines the parameters of an object or a process that is being studied and everything else in this universe is considered the "surrounding." A system is considered to be in thermodynamics in equilibrium with another system, if both the systems have the same temperature. These two things are separated by this boundary that maybe imaginative. There are four main types of boundaries: fixed, real, movable, and imaginary This provides a volume for the system in which things such as work, heat, and matter between the system and the surroundings can be studied upon. .

The principles of thermodynamics are incorporated into the three basic laws. As an old joke summarizes them, the first law says you can't win, the second law says you can't break even and the third law says you can't leave the game.


1.Zumdahl, Chemistry Seventh Edition

2.Smith, J.M. (2005). Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics. McGraw Hill. ISBN 978-007-127055-7.