I am delighted to write this Foreword in my capacity as Chair of the International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics. As a former editor of the Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics and a long-time researcher and author in the field of thermodynamics, I see this book as an important waypoint on our collective journey towards a more complete quantitative understanding of the thermodynamic properties of matter.
Classical thermodynamics is of course a science of great beauty. Although founded upon just a few simple laws, it has outstandingly-broad applicability and it underpins much of the physical and life sciences and also finds widespread application in engineering. From a theoretical point of view, those few laws, and all that can be formally deduced from them, are well established. However, quantification of the properties that thermodynamic theory interrelates remains a vibrant and engaging challenge to be addressed by means of both experimental measurements and the application of molecular theory. This book is about two of the most fundamental of all thermodynamic quantities: enthalpy and internal energy; specifically the enthalpy and internal energy of fluids. It is of course the case that neither of these quantities can be measured on an absolute scale, and so it is changes in enthalpy and internal energy that belong to the currency of chemical thermodynamics. Like other thermodynamic properties, our knowledge of enthalpy and internal energy changes rests to a great extent upon precise experimental measurements and their interpretation according to both the laws of classical thermodynamics and the predictions of molecular theory. Calorimeters of various types are the principal means of carrying out such experiments, and the design of both the instruments themselves and the experiments carried out in them are key to achieving meaningful results. Valuable as they are, precise experimental measurements are usually painfully slow to carry out so that the demand for experimental data usually outstrips supply. Fortunately, statistical mechanics and molecular theory can greatly amplify the value of experimental measurements by providing a means of predicting thermodynamic properties for whole classes of substances based on parameters determined from just a few well studied systems. The present volume presents the state of the art in both the experimental and some theoretical aspects of enthalpy and internal energy changes in fluid systems. Editors Trevor Letcher and Emmerich Wilhelm are to be congratulated on recruiting a cadre of world-leading specialist authors who, in 23 chapters, illuminate key aspects of the subject in a modern, engaging and yet fundamental way. The book brings the subject beautifully up to date, for example by detailing major advances made in different branches of calorimetry in recent decades.
The International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics (IACT) was established to continue the work of the former International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Commission on Chemical Thermodynamics in its tasks of:
Establishing the highest standards in thermodynamics research and in thermodynamic property measurements
Promoting the critical compilation, dissemination and application of thermodynamic data
Advancing the theoretical understanding of such properties
The importance of this work has been recognised by IUPAC which, at its General Assembly in Ottawa in 2003, accorded IACT Associated Organisation status. A major role of IACT is the holding of a biennial scientific Conference, at which the Rossini Lectureship Award and Junior Award are presented for excellence in chemical thermodynamics. IACT also encourages joint scientific projects, especially related to data compilations, and promotes the publication of books on chemical thermodynamics. It is within this latter context, that IACT is delighted to endorse this excellent book.
J. P. Martin Trusler
Imperial College London, U.K.
International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics