By now you’re probably thinking why is this relevant? What possible purpose does the study of thermochemistry have other than getting that A on the next test or that 5 on the AP Chemistry test. Well, to be perfectly honest, you won’t be using these exact calculations later on in life. However, these concepts do pertain to your daily life whether you do the technical calculations or not.
Many things in the real world are a result of the transfer of heat. From the simple things such as putting ice into your glass of water to the common such as burning fuel for a car, thermochemistry pervades our lives. When one exercises, the body naturally cools down due to sweating. That is because our bodies supply the heat necessary to evaporate the water. Perhaps after exercising, one uses a hot or cold pack. The manufacturing of these little godsends to athletes relies on the endothermic properties of some compounds such as ammonium nitrate to create the cold sensation. Conversely, calcium chloride or magnesium sulfate are compounds that dissolve in water exothermically, releasing that warm, soothing sensation after the blistering cold.
Power plants, from the ranging from the tried and true steam turbines to the dangerous yet high-yield nuclear power plants, all require some method of cooling its machinery. For this task, engineers and chemists once more look towards the fundamentals of thermochemistry for the answer. By utilizing water’s high specific heat capacity, power plants continuously pump water and into their machinery to keep them from overheating. Conveniently, the resulting steam can be collected and reused. This efficient method of cooling machinery has spread to all forms of manufacturing.