1 – Liquid-Vapour Equilibrium

17.1.1 - Describe the equilibrium established between a liquid and its own vapour and how it is affected by temperature changes Vapour – A gas that is below its critical temperature. Critical Temperature – The highest temperature at which a gas can be changed back into a liquid using an increase in pressure. Phase equilibrium is when a chemical reaction is not taking place, but a change of state (or phase). This is studied in the context of liquid-vapour equilibrium, when a homogenous substance is moving between its liquid and gaseous states at equal rates.

Just like a chemical reaction at equilibrium, the rates of reaction for both the forward and backwards reactions can be graphed as follows:

Since the gaseous particles will put pressure on the remaining liquid particles, and the pressure increases the more gaseous particles there are, then when the system is at equilibrium, the pressure will remain constant.


The equilibrium vapour pressure is constant at a constant temperature and increases as the temperature increases for a given system. The equilibrium vapour pressure is independent of both the volume and the surface area of the liquid.

17.1.2 - Sketch graphs showing the relationship between vapour pressure and temperature and explain them in terms of kinetic theory

As temperature increases, the pressure increases. A liquid with a high vapour pressure is volatile because it will readily evaporate. The type of intermolecular forces between the particles will affect how easily these bonds are broken, which in turn will affect the temperature at which they break. As we know from the Maxwell-Boltzmann diagram, the higher the temperature, the more particles there will be that are above the boiling point.

17.1.3 - State and explain the relationship between enthalpy of vaporisation, boiling point and intermolecular forces Enthalpy of Vaporisation (ΔHvap) This is the amount of energy required to vaporise one mole of a liquid. This means that all the intermolecular forces between the particles must be broken. If the particles have strong bonds, then this will mean a larger enthalpy of vaporisation.


A substance’s boiling point is when the vapour pressure and the external pressure are equal. The temperature will not change because the liquid particles still have the same kinetic energy. Energy is being supplied to the particles that will break their bonds so that they become gaseous. Since the strength of intermolecular forces governs the amount of energy needed to break bonds between the molecules of a liquid, the boiling point and the enthalpy of vaporisation both increase as the strength of the intermolecular forces increases.


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