Determining the Energetics of the Hydrogen Bond through FTIR: A Hands-On Physical Chemistry Lab Experiment

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© 2016 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Hydrogen bonds are very important chemical structures that are responsible for many unique and important properties of solvents, such as the solvation power of water. These distinctive features are directly related to the stabilization energy conferred by hydrogen bonds to the solvent. Thus, the characterization of hydrogen bond energetics has been vital for many areas of science. We present a laboratory experiment for physical chemistry in which the hydrogen bond energetics between methyl acetate and water is investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The experiment consists of measuring the temperature dependent IR spectra of methyl acetate to determine the changes in the enthalpy and entropy of making/breaking hydrogen bonds. This experiment aims at providing the students with hands-on experience in the following topics: solution and sample cell preparation, IR spectra collection and analysis, and data modeling and thermodynamic calculations. The overall objective of this experiment is to familiarize chemistry students with a methodology used to extract meaningful and up-to-date physical chemistry properties from real experimental data.

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Journal of Chemical Education

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