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REVERSIBLE REACTIONS

By the end of the topic students should be able to:

□ Describe the idea that some chemical reactions can be reversed by


changing the reaction conditions.

□ Describe the idea that some reversible reactions can reach dynamic
equilibrium and predict the effect of changing the conditions.

Please tick in the box if you can do the above,

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Reversible Reactions

 Most chemical reactions only proceed in one direction. They cannot be


reversed. For example, sodium hydroxide reacts with hydrochloric
acid to produce _____________ and _____________.

⇒ Write down the chemical equation for the reaction between


sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid.
__________________________________________________

 The above reaction cannot be reversed. From the chemical equation


above, explain why?
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

 However, there are some reactions that can be reversed.

EXPERIMENT 1
To prove that the reaction of ammonia gas with hydrogen chloride is a
reversible reaction.

Procedure
Part 1: All the experimental procedure had to be done in the fume
cupboard.
1) Pour 2 cm3 of concentrated hydrochloric acid into a crucible.
2) Using a test tube holder to hold the cotton wool plug, immerse it
into the crucible containing the concentrated acid.
3) Put the cotton wool plug near the mouth of the bottle of solution
containing concentrated ammonia.

4) Record your observation.


____________________________________________________

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⇒ What is the product formed in the reaction?
_______________________________________________________

⇒ Write down the chemical equation for the reaction between


concentrated ammonia solution and concentrated hydrochloric
acid.
__________________________________________________

Procedure
Part 2:

1) Place some solid ammonium chloride in a test tube. Push some glass
wool into the tube. Clamp the tube vertically as shown in the set-up
above.
2) Place pieces of damp red and blue litmus papers at the mouth of
the test tube.
3) Heat the ammonium chloride strongly so that it disappears.
4) Record the changes that take place in the pieces of litmus paper.
____________________________________________________

⇒ Explain the changes that take place in the pieces of litmus


paper.
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________

⇒ Write down the chemical equation for the decomposition of


ammonium chloride upon heating.
__________________________________________________

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 Since the reaction can go either direction, we say that it is a
_________________. A double arrow, ______, is used to indicate a
reversible reaction.

 Therefore, the equation for the reversible reaction of ammonia and


hydrogen chloride should be written as
____________________________________________________

 There are many other examples of reversible reactions in Chemistry.


The reaction between nitrogen and hydrogen to form ammonia is one
such example.

 To avoid confusion, chemists always call


a) the reaction from left to right, the forward reaction.
b) the reaction from right to left, the reverse reaction.

REACHING AN EQUILIBRIUM STATE

 In most reversible reactions balance points exist between the forward


and backward reactions.

• Reactants and products appear together.


• The reaction appears to have stopped.
• Neither forward nor backward reaction is complete.
• This is chemical equilibrium.

 What is a “dynamic equilibrium”?


_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

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Another example of reversible reaction;
I2 in aqueous potassium iodide I2 in trichloroethane

 When the reactants reach equilibrium in a reversible reaction, the


concentrations of reactants and products become constant and the
reaction appears to have stopped. In fact, the forward and backward
reactions have become equal in speed.

 If a graph of the concentration of iodine in the two solvents against


time is plotted, the results obtained are shown below:

 The graphs have the following features:


- when the graphs become horizontal, equilibrium is reached .
This is when the concentrations of iodine in the two solvents
become constants. Although the gradient of both graphs is now
zero, the forward and backward reactions are still going on.
- The concentration of the reactant in the forward reaction (the
concentration of the iodine in the aqueous layer) does not
become zero when the graph becomes horizontal.

EXPERIMENT 2
To study the reversible reaction of potassium chromate (VI)

Procedure
1) Place 2 cm3 of potassium chromate (VI) solution in a boiling tube.
Record the colour of the solution. (Colour: _______________)

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2) Add in dilute sulphuric acid slowly. Stop adding when the solution
changes colour. Record the colour of the solution.(Colour:
______________)
3) Add aqueous sodium hydroxide slowly to the resulting solution
obtained in Step 2. Stop adding when the solution changes colour.
Record the colour of the solution. (Colour: _______________)

Questions:
1. What is the colour of potassium chromate (VI) in the presence of
a) an acid - ____________________
b) an alkali - ___________________
2. The chromate ion, CrO42- (aq) is yellow in colour. The dichromate ion
Cr2O72- is orange in colour. Write the ionic equations for the reversible
reaction occurring in this experiment.

FACTORS AFFECTING REVERSIBLE REACTIONS

 Changing the conditions of an established equilibrium can disturb a


system. Any outside influence can shift the balance of the forward
and backward reactions in one direction or the other.

 Changing the following conditions affects the balance of the


reversible reaction.
• Concentration
• Temperature
• Pressure

 Important: A catalyst does not affect the position of equilibrium.


Explain why?
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

1) CONCENTRATION
 If the concentration of a reactant is increases the forward reaction
will be increased. For example

Fe3+ (aq) + SCN- (aq) FeSCN2+ (aq)

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 If the concentration of the Fe3+ is increases by adding a more
concentrated solution, the speed of the forward reaction will increase.
This will make more products.

 When an equilibrium is re-established there will be slightly more


products. Another way to say this is, the forward reaction is favoured.

2CrO42- (aq) + 2H+ (aq) Cr2O72- (aq) + H2O (l)

⇒ Predict which reaction will be favoured if the following changes


are made.

a) add CrO42- (aq) ______________________

b) add Cr2O72- (aq) _____________________

c) add NaOH (aq) ______________________

d) add AgNO3 (aq) [ Ag+(aq) will form a precipitate with CrO42- (aq)]

_______________________

2) TEMPERATURE

 All the reactions (both forward and reverse) will increase in speed
with an increase in temperature.

 In exothermic reaction, where heat is produced, removal of the heat


causes more products to form, to balance the initial loss.

 In endothermic reaction, where heat is absorbed, addition of heat


causes more products to form, to consume the additional heat.

 Example 1:

2SO2(g) + O2(g) 2SO3(g) ΔH=negative

If the temperature is decreased what happens to the rate of

a) forward reaction?___________________

b) reverse reaction?___________________

Which reaction is favoured? ____________________

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If the temperature is increased what happens to the rate of

a) forward reaction? ______________________

b) reverse reaction? ______________________

Which reaction is favoured? _____________________

 Example 2:

CH4(g) + H2O(g) CO(g) + 3H2(g) ΔH= positive

If the temperature is decreased what happens to the rate of

a) forward reaction?___________________

b) reverse reaction?___________________

Which reaction is favoured? ____________________

If the temperature is increased what happens to the rate of

a) forward reaction? ______________________

b) reverse reaction? ______________________

Which reaction is favoured? _____________________

3) PRESSURE

 Pressure changes will only affect reactions involving __________. It


again, is like increasing the concentration of one of the chemicals. For
example:

2NO2(g) N2O4(g)

Red brown colourless

 If the pressure is increases both reactions are faster but the


forward reaction increases by more because it has 2 moles and the
reverse has only 1 mole of gas. So the _______________ is favoured.

H2(g) + I2(g) 2HI

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If the pressure is decreases what happens to the speed of both
reactions? _______________

Which reaction is favoured? ____________________

 Example 1:

2SO2(g) + O2(g) 2SO3(g)

If you want less 2SO3(g) what should you do to the pressure?


_______________

Why? __________________________________________________

 Example 2:

N2(g) + 3H2(g) 2NH3(g)

If you want more ammonia what should you do to the pressure?

_________________

Why? __________________________________________________

 Please proceed to do exercise from:


WORKSHEET 1
WORKSHEET 2
WORKSHEET 3
WORKSHEET4

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