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Chemical equilibrium

Having looked at factors that affect the rate of a reaction, we now need to ask some important questions. Does a reaction always proceed in the same direction or can it be reversible? In other words, is it always true that a reaction proceeds from reactants to products , or is it possible that sometimes, the reaction will reverse and the products will be changed back into the reactants ? And does a reaction always run its full course so that all the reactants are used up, or can a reaction reach a point where reactants are still present, but there does not seem to be any further change taking place in the reaction? The following demonstration might help to explain this.

Demonstration : liquid-vapour phase equilibrium

Apparatus and materials:

2 beakers; water; bell jar

Method:

  1. Half fill two beakers with water and mark the level of the water in each case.
  2. Cover one of the beakers with a bell jar.
  3. Leave the beakers and, over the course of a day or two, observe how the water level in the two beakers changes. What do you notice? Note: You could speed up this demonstration by placing the two beakers over a bunsen burner to heat the water. In this case, it may be easier to cover the second beaker with a glass cover.

Observations:

You should notice that in the beaker that is uncovered, the water level drops quickly because of evaporation. In the beaker that is covered, there is an initial drop in the water level, but after a while evaporation appears to stop and the water level in this beaker is higher than that in the one that is open. Note that the diagram below shows the situation ate time=0.

Discussion:

In the first beaker, liquid water becomes water vapour as a result of evaporation and the water level drops. In the second beaker, evaporation also takes place. However, in this case, the vapour comes into contact with the surface of the bell jar and it cools and condenses to form liquid water again. This water is returned to the beaker. Once condensation has begun, the rate at which water is lost from the beaker will start to decrease. At some point, the rate of evaporation will be equal to the rate of condensation above the beaker, and there will be no change in the water level in the beaker. This can be represented as follows:

l i q u i d v a p o u r

In this example, the reaction (in this case, a change in the phase of water) can proceed in either direction. In one direction there is a change in phase from liquid to vapour. But the reverse can also take place, when vapour condenses to form water again.

In a closed system it is possible for reactions to be reversible, such as in the demonstration above. In a closed system, it is also possible for a chemical reaction to reach equilibrium . We will discuss these concepts in more detail.

Open and closed systems

An open system is one in which matter or energy can flow into or out of the system. In the liquid-vapour demonstration we used, the first beaker was an example of an open system because the beaker could be heated or cooled (a change in energy ), and water vapour (the matter ) could evaporate from the beaker.

Questions & Answers

The phenomenon that describes the change in the frequency
Neo Reply
Doppler effect
sinelizwi
does the rate of reaction calculated by reactant equal to product
mudodzwa Reply
formula of heat reaction
Anelisiwe Reply
final energy-initial energy of substances
Chantel
what is the difference between ethene and ethane
Joy Reply
Ethane is a saturated organic molecule while ethene is unsaturated Ethane has 2 carbon atoms and 6 hydrogen atoms, while ethene has 2 Carbons and 4 hydrogens Ethane has single bond between the 2 Carbon atoms while ethene has double bond
Rito
How do you know that the reaction is in acid medium or basic medium
Miss Reply
What formular is used when source and Observer are moving towards to each other
Esihle Reply
put a + on top n - on the bottom
Sanele
what is doppler effect?
Ansiwe Reply
doppler effect is the perceived change in frequency of a sound caused by either the source or the listener
Qaqamba
moving relative to each other
Qaqamba
A Catalyst is a chemical substance that speeds up a chemical reaction.
Sheron Reply
It does this by lowering the activation energy.
Sheron
what is exothermic
Nambile Reply
reaction that releases energy
Beauty
what is a catalyst
Joseph
Catalyst is to speed up the reaction
CELO
catalyst is a substance added into a solution to speed up the process
Joseph
As it speeds up the reaction by lowering the activation energy, it does not take part in the reactants or products formed
Rito
reaction that release energy
Qaqamba
wat can I do to understand organic molecule?
Given
organic is an easy chemistry dear watch videos on youtube they kinder helps
mudodzwa
what is exothermic
Nambile Reply
reaction that gives off heat to the surroundings
Thabile
formula for calculating the heat of reaction
Anelisiwe
I need help in electrostatic
Muthuphei Reply
in exactly in electrostatic
Beauty
send the question on electrostatic maybe I can help
Beauty
factors affecting the rate of reaction
thabo Reply
hi
Xiluva
hi
Mashweme
hey
Musa
I'm xiluva ...do we help those who are having challenges on their studies?
Xiluva
I mean on physical science
Xiluva
I believe it's supposed to be like that. Helping those who are having educational challenges
Rito
Yep physical sciences more specifically
Rito
ok ....nna I need some help in physics electricity ...just hints how we do what n how to solve some of the problem... just hints
Xiluva
The first thing you can do is to understand ohm's law and the difference between a series and parallel connection concerning current, resistance and potential difference
Thendo
Hi Xiluva,not sure if this will be helpful but to understand electricity better I suggest you download Siyavula physical science books there's both a learner book and a teacher's guide I was struggling too they really did help you might be able to do some exercises after reading siyavula material
LUTHO
what diode mean
Ansiwe
diode s a part of electrical current tht allows only moves to one direction ..only ...
Frank
allows current .....to flow to one direction I meant .
Frank
ok thanks
Ansiwe
ok thanks guys
Xiluva
temperature surface area concentration addition of a catalyst
Joseph
thank you mr
Mzukisi
How to calculate e.p
zama Reply
ep=mgh
mudodzwa
Ep=mgh
Maximurm
What is polymer
Kwinda Reply
chemical compound with molecules bonded together in long ,repeating chains
Bukani
hey guys i need help with the topic of forces and their application
Monica Reply
A force is a pull or push and it can be applied in rocket launchers moving cars & stoping (breaking them).
Duncan
A force is that Agency which changes the object's state of rest or motion. A push or pull are the effects of force.
Katiso

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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 12 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11244/1.2
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