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I am delighted to write this Foreword in my capacity as Chair of the International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics. This is the fourth book in a series on thermodynamic properties and the Editors have again used their extensive network to bring together an outstanding team of authors with broad expertise in thermodynamics.

This book is about two of the most important thermodynamic properties: Gibbs energy and Helmholtz energy. These properties are indeed fundamental because all other thermodynamic quantities of a homogeneous phase may be deduced by differentiation of one or the other with respect to temperature, composition and either pressure or volume. Gibbs energy is associated with temperature, composition and pressure as the independent variables, whereas Helmholtz energy goes with temperature, composition and volume. The Gibbs and Helmholtz energies play an equally fundamental role in determining all kinds of phase and chemical equilibria in both homogeneous and heterogeneous systems. Interestingly, neither can be measured directly and, indeed, only some of their derivatives are measurable. Therefore, construction of a ‘master’ function for, say, Helmholtz energy involves arbitrarily assigned constants of integration which nevertheless vanish when any measurable property is derived. As many of the chapters of this new book show, concepts based upon or expressed in terms of the Gibbs and Helmholtz energies abound in thermodynamics. The range of applications is extensive and, although the fundamentals are unchanging, the investigation of these properties in the context of specific phenomena is still advancing.

Gibbs Energy and Helmholtz Energy: Liquids, Solutions and Vapours presents key aspects of experimental and theoretical thermodynamic research on fluid systems. The Editors Trevor Letcher and Emmerich Wilhelm have recruited world-leading authors and the 17 chapters of the book present the subject in an engaging, concise and authoritative way. The book is very much up-to-date, including, for example, recent advances in theory and some interesting applications to complex fluids such as liquid crystals and biomolecular solutions.

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 Organization 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

Professor of Thermophysics, Imperial College London, UK

Chair, International Association of Chemical Thermodynamics

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