An activity coefficient is a factor used in thermodynamics to account for deviations from ideal behaviour in a mixture of chemical substances.In an ideal mixture, the microscopic interactions between each pair of chemical species are the same (or macroscopically equivalent, the enthalpy change of solution and volume variation in mixing is zero) and, as a result, properties of the mixtures can be expressed directly in terms of simple concentrations or partial pressures of the substances present e.g. Raoult’s law. Deviations from ideality are accommodated by modifying the concentration by an activity coefficient. Analogously, expressions involving gases can be adjusted for non-ideality by scaling partial pressures by a fugacity coefficient.
The concept of activity coefficient is closely linked to that of activity in chemistry.
|γ||Activity coefficient (dimensionless)|
|a||Activity of the substance in the mixture (dimensionless)|
|x||Mole fraction (dimensionless)|