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Energy is defined as the capacity to do work. There are many forms of energy –

-kinetic energy

-potential energy

-chemical energy ( energy stored in a substance)



-nuclear energy

-geothermal energy

-wave energy etc

What happens in a chemical reaction

In a chemical reaction, two steps occurs

- the “old” bonds in the reagents to break, energy is absorbed so that this may occur
- new bonds then form in order to make the product, this causes the release of energy to
the surroundings

All reactions need a minimal amount of energy called the activation energy. If they have is
amount then the reaction will occur , beginning with the old bonds breaking

Types of chemical reactions w.r.t energy

There are two types of reactions with respect to energy. They are called the endothermic
reactions and exothermic reactions. The table below compares the endothermic and
exothermic reactions

Exothermic reaction Endothermic reaction

- is a reaction in which energy is given - is a reaction in which energy is absorbed
off to the environment from the environment
- the temperature increases( gets - the temperature decreases( gets colder)
- the energy of the product is less than - the energy of the products is greater
the energy of the reagent( Ep <Er) than the energy of the reagents (∆Ep >Er)
- the enthalpy change is negative - the enthalpy change is positive
(∆H<0) (∆H>0)
-Energy profile of an exothermic reaction -Energy profile of an endothermic reaction
N.B. the enthalpy change( energy change) of a reaction ( ∆H ) is the difference between the
energy of the products( Ep) and the energy of the reactants( Er). It has a sign. It’s unit is J/mol
or kJ/mol.

∆H = Ep – Er

Calculating the enthalpy of solution

The enthalpy of solution is the heat change which occurs when one mol of a solute is dissolved
in such a colume of solvent that further dilution by the solvent produces no further heat

∆Hsoln = energy change that occurs during the reaction(E) = E

Number of moles of solute n

E = mc∆T

m = mass of solution

c= specific heat capacity

∆T = temperature change

Sample problem 1

5.35g of ammonium chloride was dissolved in 100mL of water. The temperature of the water
fell from 30°C to 20°C. Calculate the energy change per mole of ammonium chloride.

( c = 4.2 J K-1mol-1)

ρ = density of water = 1g/mL

m = mass of solution = mass of water + mass of ammonium chloride

mass of water = volume of water x density of water = 100mL x 1g/mL = 100g

m = 100g = 100g

E = 100g x 4.2 J K-1mol-1 x 10°C = 4200J

N = number of mol solute = mass of solute/ molar mass of solute = 5.35g/53.5 g mol -1 = 0.1 mol

Energy change ( ∆ H) = 4200.7 J/ 0.1 mol = 42000J mol

N.B. that the temperature fell. Hence the reaction is endothermic. Therefore the sign is +

Answer : Energy change per mole = +42,0007J/mol OR +42.0kJ/mol

Sample problem 2

4g of sodium hydroxide was dissolved in 250 mL of water and the temperature rose by 2°C.
Calculate the enthalpy of solution ( energy change of solution for this reaction).

( c = 4.2 J K-1mol-1)

ρ = density of water = 1g/mL

Energy of the reaction = mc∆T = 250g x 4.2 J K-1mol-1 x 2°C = 2100J

Number of mol of sodium hydroxide = 4g/40g/mol = 0.1 mol

Energy change of solution = 2100 J/ 0.1 mol = 21,000 J/mol.

However, since this reaction is exothermic( temperature rose). Then the sign is –

Answer = -21,000J/mol or - 21.00 kJ/mol

Enthalpy of neutralization

This is the amount of energy released when one mole of water is formed during a neutralization
reaction between an acid and a base.

∆H neut = E/ nwater

Sample problem 3

50 mL of 1M sodium hydroxide neutralizes 12.5 mL of 4M hydrochloric acid. The temperature

rose from 5°C to 15°C. What is the heat of neutralization for this reaction?

1) Calculate the number of mole NaOH = 0.05 L x 1M = 0.05 mol NaOH

2) Calculate the number of mole HCl = 0.0125L x 4M = 0.05 mol HCl
3) Write the equation for the reaction NaOH(aq) + HCl(aq) → NaCl(aq) + H2O(l)
4) From the equation 1 mol NaOH forms 1 mol water
Hence 0.05 mol NaOH will make 0.05 mol water
5) From the equation 1 mol HCl form 1 mol water
Hence 0.05 mol HCl forms 0.05 mol water
N.B If the number of moles of water in steps 4 and 5 are not the same, then choose the
lower number of mole of water
6) Number of mol water = 0.05 mol ( in this case)
7) Energy given off or absorbed = mc∆T
Assume the density of the acid and base solutions are the same as water ( unless told
other wise)
m = total volume of acid and base x density = (50 mL + 12.5 mL ) 1g/mL = 62.5 g
C= 4.2 J K-1mol-1
∆T = ( 15 -5) = 10°C
E = 62.5 x 4.2 J K-1mol-1 x 10°C = 2625J
Energy change (∆H) = E/nwater = 2625J/ 0.05 mol = 52,500J/mol
Answer = - 52,500J/mol or -52.5kJ/mol
Energetics experiments

In performing any enthalpy experiment, one will need a thermometer( or some device
to measure temperature) and an insulated reaction vessel ( eg Styrofoam cup or
In addition to the abovementioned apparatus, a top loading balance is needed to
measure the mass of solute and a measuring cylinder or some other volume measuring
device to measure the volume of solvent used for the heat change( enthalpy change) of

The diagram below shows a set up for finding the enthalpy of solution. The solvent is
poured into the Styrofoam cup first and allowed to equilibrate. This is taken as the initial
temperature. The solute is then added quickly and the temperature is taken at a set
time interval until the temperature remains constant or falls.

In performing an enthalpy of neutralization experiment, the major items one will need
- A thermometer
- An insulated reaction vessel
- A burette
- A pipette etc

One will measure out a set volume of base into a Styrofoam cup and allow it to
equilibrate. This temperature is recorded. Then,the acid is added from the burette in
small volumes (eg 1 mL or 2 mL at a time). After each addition, the mixture is stirred and
the temperature is recorded. This continues until the values start to fall.
A graph is drawn of the data and this is used to find the final temperature and the
volume of acid needed to neutralize the base.

Diagram showing the set up for a thermometric titration

Graph showing how the final temperature and the neutralization volume is found in a
thermometric titration ( enthalpy of neutralization) experiment

N.B. Interpolating from the point of intersection to the y-axis gives the final temperature for the

Notes taken from A Concise Revision Course in Chemistry by Anne Tindale

The diagrams were gotten off the Internet.