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Chemistry LibreTexts

7.S: Energy and Chemical Processes (Summary)

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  • Page ID
    16110
  • To ensure that you understand the material in this chapter, you should review the meanings of the following bold terms in the following summary and ask yourself how they relate to the topics in the chapter.

    Energy is the ability to do work. The transfer of energy from one place to another is heat. Heat and energy are measured in units of joules, calories, or kilocalories (equal to 1,000 calories). The amount of heat gained or lost when the temperature of an object changes can be related to its mass and a constant called the specific heat of the substance.

    The transfer of energy can also cause a substance to change from one phase to another. During the transition, called a phase change, heat is either added or lost. Despite the fact that heat is going into or coming out of a substance during a phase change, the temperature of the substance does not change until the phase change is complete; that is, phase changes are isothermal. Analogous to specific heat, a constant called the heat of fusion of a substance describes how much heat must be transferred for a substance to melt or solidify (that is, to change between solid and liquid phases), while the heat of vaporization describes the amount of heat transferred in a boiling or condensation process (that is, to change between liquid and gas phases).

    Every chemical change is accompanied by an energy change. This is because the interaction between atoms bonding to each other has a certain bond energy, the energy required to break the bond (called lattice energy for ionic compounds), and the bond energies of the reactants will not be the same as the bond energies of the products. Reactions that give off energy are called exothermic, while reactions that absorb energy are called endothermic. Energy-level diagrams can be used to illustrate the energy changes that accompany chemical reactions.

    Even complex biochemical reactions have to follow the rules of simple chemistry, including rules involving energy change. Reactions of carbohydrates and proteins provide our bodies with about 4 kcal of energy per gram, while fats provide about 9 kcal per gram.