Interactive Self-Study Module: State Functions


This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain how a change in a state function is independent of the pathway taken. Any pathway can be used between the initial and final states to calculate the change regardless of how the process takes place. The module provides example problems and ConcepTests to allow the user to test themselves. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in screencasts, and questions to answer before using the interactive simulation, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple-choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
  2. Watch the screencast that describes state functions and answer the questions within the screencast.
  3. Review important equations for state functions.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to further understand how state functions are used to in real-life processes.
  5. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  6. Answer the ConcepTests.
  7. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself. 
  • State functions is one of the most useful concepts in thermodynamics.
  • This module is intended for thermodynamics, physical chemistry, and material and energy balances courses.
Before studying this module, you should:
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Use state functions to solve energy balances.
  • Use the concept of state functions to calculate changes in state parameters.