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Endothermic vs.

exothermic reactions
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Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions
Let's see what Sam and Julie are up to in the chemistry lab.

Image titled chemistry lab: experiments are fun.
Excited but bit confused, Sam and Julie run to their chemistry teacher. Sam asks,
“Teacher, why did my flask turn cold after adding the salt to water, while Julie’s flask
turned hot?”
The teacher replied: “That’s because both of you were given two different salts and
one of your salts generated anendothermic reaction with water, while the other salt
generated an exothermic reaction with water. Let me first reveal the identity of your
salts: Salt A is ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) and Salt B is calcium chloride (CaCl2).
Now, Sam and Julie were curious about the difference between an endothermic and
an exothermic reaction.
Consider the reaction mixture (salt + water) as the system and the flask as
the surrounding.
In Sam’s case; when ammonium nitrate was dissolved in water, the system absorbed
heat from the surrounding(flask) and thus the flask felt cold. This is an example of an
endothermic reaction. On the contrary, in Julie’s case; when calcium chloride was
dissolved in water, the system released heat into the surroundings (flask) and thus
the flask felt hot. This is an example of an exothermic reaction.
The reaction going on in Sam’s flask can be represented as:

NH4NO3 (s) + heat ---> NH4+ (aq) + NO3- (aq)
So as you can see, heat is absorbed during the above reaction, lowering the
temperature of the reaction mixture, and thus the reaction flask feels cold.
The reaction going on in Julie’s flask can be represented as:

CaCl2 (s) + 2(H2O) ---> Ca(OH)2 (aq) + 2 HCl (g) + heat
In this case, heat is released during the reaction, elevating the temperature of the
reaction mixture, and thus Julie’s reaction flask feels hot.
The teacher’s final comment to Sam and Julie about this experiment was “When
trying to classify a reaction as exothermic or endothermic, watch how the
temperature of the surrounding (flask) changes. An exothermic process releases
heat, and causes the temperature of the immediate surroundings to rise. An
endothermic process absorbs heat and cools the surroundings.”

Molecules inherently want to stay together. heat is absorbed. which requires more energy and results in heat being absorbed from the surroundings. water and lots of heat. and the water being boiled to release steam (different chemical phases) as heat is absorbed or released. heat is released and when chemical bonds are broken. making these reactions endothermic in nature.So based on the above definition. let us pick a few examples from our daily lives and categorize them as endothermic/exothermic. Bonds between water molecules have to be broken when we go from ice (solid) to water (liquid) to water vapor (gas) state. What happens when water goes through the three different states of matter? Image of an ice cube melting into water. Endothermic reactions (heat is absorbed) 1) Photosynthesis: plants absorb heat energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen 6CO2 + 6 H2O + heat ---> C6H12O6 + 6O2 2) Cooking an egg: Heat energy is absorbed from the pan to cook the egg Exothermic reactions (heat is released) 1) Combustion: the burning of carbon containing compounds uses oxygen (from air) and produces carbon dioxide. eg: combustion of methane (CH_{4}4start subscript. 4. As we know now that breaking bonds requires energy so in this process heat is absorbed from the surroundings. On the other hand. going from water vapor (gas) to water (liquid) to ice (solid) requires formation of chemical bonds between . end subscript) can be represented as follows: CH4 + 2(O2) ---> CO2 + 2H2O + heat 2) Rain: condensation of water vapor into rain releases energy in the form of heat is an example of an exothermic process Why is heat released or absorbed in a chemical reaction? In any chemical reaction. chemical bonds are either broken or formed. And the rule of thumb is: When chemical bonds are formed. so formation of chemical bonds between molecules requires less energy as compared to breaking bonds between molecules.

e. o. Let’s first figure out what’s happening in this particular reaction. s. To break one mole of H2. s. t. d. s. left parenthesis. What is enthalpy of a reaction? Enthalpy of a reaction is defined as the heat energy change (ΔH) that takes place when reactants go to products. r. t. d. r. e. o. it’s an exothermic reaction where energy is released in the form of heat. end subscript = (436 + 158) – (2 X 568) = -542 kJ The overall enthalpy of the reaction is negative i. ΔH value negative --> energy released --> exothermic reactionΔH value positive --> energy absorbed --> endothermic reaction ∆H = ∑ ∆H (bonds broken in reactants) . b. a. then ΔH is negative. it’s clear that one mole of H-H and one mole of F-F bonds are being broken to generate two moles of H-F bonds. i. n. r. energy absorbed is 158 kJ To form two moles of HF.∑∆H (bonds made in products) Let us understand this through an example. Depiction of an energy diagram In a chemical reaction. So. n. c. c. end subscript . n.water molecules. o. t. i. n. If heat is absorbed during the reaction. while formation of bonds releases energy. a. n. and HF are 436. ∆H = ∑ ∆H _{(bonds broken in reactants)} (bondsbrokeninreactants)start subscript. n. e. e. energy released is 2 X (568) kJ So applying the equation. a. Let’s calculate the enthalpy change (ΔH) for the following reaction: H2(g) + F2(g) = 2HF The information provided to us is: The bond energy (in kilojoules kJ) for H2. i. r.∑∆H _{(bonds made in products)} (bondsmadeinproducts)start subscript. where chemical bonds are partially broken and partially formed. Looking at the chemical reaction. k. ΔH is positive. right parenthesis. m. o. o. c. b. b. Breaking of bonds requires absorption of energy. n. During the course of the reaction there exists an intermediate stage. some bonds are broken and some bonds are formed. energy absorbed is 436 kJ To break one mole of F2. and if heat is released. right parenthesis. s. p. e. u. F2. t. end subscript ΔH_{reaction}reactionstart subscript. left parenthesis. it is very unstable and is referred to as the . d. a. 158 and 568 kJ/ mole respectively. and this process releases heat energy making the reverse process exothermic in nature. This intermediate exists at a higher energy level than the starting reactants. d.

the products are more stable than the reactants. and products as the reaction progresses with time. Energy diagrams for endothermic and exothermic reactions In the case of an endothermic reaction. Image of a graph showing potential energy in relation to the process of a chemical reaction. a. So. It’s depicted with a red arrow. In other words. The enthalpy change (ΔH) of the reaction is depicted with a green arrow. transition states. now you should be able to clearly differentiate between E_{act}actstart subscript. we can define activation energy as the minimum amount of energy required to initiate a reaction and it is denoted by E_{act}actstart subscript.transition state. One can calculate the E_{act}actstart subscript. In the case of an exothermic reaction. Overall ΔH for the reaction is negative i. Attribution . c. In other words. end subscript and ΔH for any reaction from its energy diagram. t. the reactants are at a higher energy level as compared to the products as shown below in the energy diagram. t. a. c.e. c. a. t. the products are less stable than the reactants. the reactants are at a lower energy level as compared to the products (as shown in the energy diagram below). t. energy is absorbed from the surroundings. Let’s draw an energy diagram for the following reaction: Activation energy graph for: CO (g) + NO2 (g) ---> CO2 (g) + NO (g) The activation energy is the difference in the energy between the transition state and the reactants. a. energy is released in the form of heat. Since we are forcing the reaction in the forward direction towards more unstable entities. end subscript and ΔH on an energy diagram. c. overall ΔH for the reaction is positive i. So.e. The energy required to reach this transition state is called activation energy (E_{act}actstart subscript. end subscript. An energy diagram can be defined as a diagram showing the relative potential energies of reactants. end subscript). graph showing potential energy and progress of a reaction over time.