Standard enthalpy of formation

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The standard enthalpy of formation or standard heat of formation of a compound is the change of enthalpy during the formation of 1 mole of the substance from its constituent elements, with all substances in their standard states. The standard pressure value p 105 Pa (= 100 kPa = 1 bar) is recommended by IUPAC, although prior to 1982 the value 1.00 atm (101.325 kPa) was used.[1] There is no standard temperature. Its symbol is ΔfH. The superscript |Plimsoll on this symbol indicates that the process has occurred under standard conditions at the specified temperature (usually 25 °C or 298.15 K). Standard states are as follows:

  • For a gas: the hypothetical state it would have assuming it obeyed the ideal gas equation at a pressure of 1 bar
  • For a gaseous or solid solute present in a diluted ideal solution: the hypothetical state of concentration of the solute of exactly one mole per liter (1 M) at a pressure of 1 bar extrapolated from infinite dilution
  • For a pure substance or a solvent in a condensed state (a liquid or a solid): the standard state is the pure liquid or solid under a pressure of 1 bar
  • For an element: the form in which the element is most stable under 1 bar of pressure. One exception is phosphorus, for which the most stable form at 1 bar is black phosphorus, but white phosphorus is chosen as the standard reference state for zero enthalpy of formation.[2]


  2. Oxtoby, David W; Pat Gillis, H; Campion, Alan (2011). Principles of Modern Chemistry. p. 547. ISBN 978-0-8400-4931-5. 

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