Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

V: Chemical Equilibrium

  • Page ID
    43440
  • 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

    • 5.1: 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.
    • 5.2: 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. The equilibrium constant can be defined in terms of forward and reverse rate constants: \(K=k_f/k_r\). The equilibrium constant expression (law of mass action): \[K=\dfrac{[C]^c[D]^d}{[A]^a[B]^b} \]
    • 5.3: 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 "Gibbs energy."
    • 5.4: 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.
    • 5.5: Gas-Phase and Heterogeneous Reaction Equilibria
      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.
    • 5.6: The Direction of Change in Chemical Reactions: Empirical Description
      Systems at equilibrium can be disturbed by changes to temperature, concentration, and, in some cases, volume and pressure; volume and pressure changes will disturb equilibrium if the number of moles of gas is different on the reactant and product sides of the reaction. The system's response to these disturbances is described by Le Châtelier's principle: The system will respond in a way that counteracts the disturbance. Not all changes to the system result in a disturbance of the equilibrium.
    • 5.7: The Direction of Change in Chemical Reactions - Thermodynamic Explanation
      A negative value for ΔG indicates a spontaneous process; a positive ΔG indicates a nonspontaneous process; and a ΔG of zero indicates that the system is at equilibrium. A number of approaches to the computation of free energy changes are possible.
    • 5.8: Distribution 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).
    • 5.E: Chemical Equilibrium (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Principles of Modern Chemistry" by Oxtoby et al.

    • Was this article helpful?