On the equilibrium of heterogeneous substances : first [-second] part pt. 1
Published by the Academy, 1874
Part of: On the equilibrium of heterogeneous substances : first [-second] part
49. The Phase Rule
Deep and retiring, the incisive mind of Gibbs was applied to mathematics, physics and chemistry. At a time when the technology of steam engineering was half a century ahead of its theoretical understanding, Gibbs applied himself to the complex problems of thermodynamics. He did as well in laying the basis of physical chemistry. In a style difficult for his colleagues to follow, he outlined the conditions determining the equilibrium attained by increasing entropy in a thermodynamic system. Gibbs evolved the "phase rule" or law determining the number of physical phases or states possible to a specific chemical system in equilibrium. In 1901 the Royal Society's Copley medal was awarded Gibbs for applying his analytical methods in determining the relations between chemical, electrical and thermal energies.