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Chemistry LibreTexts

14: Chemical Equilibrium

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  • Chemical equilibrium is the state in which both reactants and products are present in concentrations which have no further tendency to change with time. This results when the forward reaction proceeds at the same rate as the reverse reaction. Thus, no net changes in the concentrations of the reactant(s) and product(s) are observed. This is known as dynamic equilibrium.

    • 14.1: The Nature of Chemical Equilibrium
      At equilibrium, the forward and reverse reactions of a system proceed at equal rates. Chemical equilibrium is a dynamic process consisting of forward and reverse reactions that proceed at equal rates. At equilibrium, the composition of the system no longer changes with time. The composition of an equilibrium mixture is independent of the direction from which equilibrium is approached.
    • 14.2: The Empirical Law of Mass Action
      The law of mass action describes a system at equilibrium in terms of the concentrations of the products and the reactants. For a system involving one or more gases, either the molar concentrations of the gases or their partial pressures can be used.
    • 14.3: Thermodynamic Description of the Equilibrium State
      In this unit we introduce a new thermodynamic function, the free energy, which turns out to be the single most useful criterion for predicting the direction of a chemical reaction and the composition of the system at equilibrium. As we will explain near the bottom of this page, the term "free energy", although still widely used, is rather misleading, so we will often refer to it as the "Gibbs function" or "Gibbs energy."
    • 14.4: The Law of Mass Action for Related and Simultaneous Equilibria
      Chemists frequently need to know the equilibrium constant for a reaction that has not been previously studied. In such cases, the desired reaction can often be written as the sum of other reactions for which the equilibrium constants are known. The equilibrium constant for the unknown reaction can then be calculated from the tabulated values for the other reactions.
    • 14.5: Equilibrium Calculations for Gas-Phase and Heterogenous Reactions
      An equilibrated system that contains products and reactants in a single phase is a homogeneous equilibrium; a system whose reactants, products, or both are in more than one phase is a heterogeneous equilibrium.
    • 14.6: Reaction Directions (Empirical Explanation)
      The reaction Quotient (Q) is used to determine whether a system is at equilibrium and if it is not, to predict the direction of reaction. The reaction Quotient (Qc  or Qp ) has the same form as the equilibrium constant expression, but it is derived from concentrations obtained at any time. When a reaction system is at equilibrium, Q=.
    • 14.7: Reaction Directions (Thermodynamic Explanation)
    • 14.8: Distribution of a Single Species between Immiscible Phases: Extraction and Separation Processes
      A partitioning of a compound exist between a mixture of two immiscible phases at equilibrium, which is a measure of the difference in solubility of the compound in these two phases. If one of the solvents is a gas and the other a liquid, the "gas/liquid partition coefficient" is the same as the dimensionless form of the Henry's law constant. A solute can partition when one or both solvents is a solid (e.g., solid solution).
    • 14.E: Chemical Equilibria (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Principles of Modern Chemistry" by Oxtoby et al.