What is meant by a Chemical Equilibrium?


What is meant by a Chemical Equilibrium?

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A chemical equilibrium is like a balance between different chemicals. Imagine you have a see-saw, on one side you have a big pile of blocks and on the other side you have a small pile of blocks. When you first put the blocks on, the see-saw is not balanced, one side is higher than the other. But over time, the blocks will shift around and eventually, the two sides will be level. This is like what happens in a chemical equilibrium.

In a chemical reaction, different chemicals are mixed together and they start to change into different chemicals. But as the reaction goes on, some of the new chemicals start to change back into the old chemicals. Eventually, there will be a balance where the same amount of the old chemicals and new chemicals are being made and destroyed. This balance is called chemical equilibrium.

To explain it simply, chemical equilibrium is like a balance between different chemicals, where the same amount of chemicals are being made and destroyed.

When you have a chemical reaction that is reversible (X + Y <-> XY, it can go in either direction), it will run in either direction simultaneously. It’s just that depending on the concentrations (or pressures, for gasses) of all the parts, one direction is more likely. But if it can run more one way OR the other, there obviously is a point in the middle where they run both ways equally. That is Equilibrium. The reactions are balanced. From the outside it looks like nothing changes. As mentioned, where that balance is depends on the concentrations/pressures of all the parts, in very specific ways.

If a reaction is NOT reversible, there can be a point where it slows down or stops (but doesn’t reverse), but it might as well run to completion. Explosives are an example, most explosives will not just “stop” because they’ve “exploded enough” (at least to my knowledge).

Chemical equilibrium is defined as a state when rate of forward reaction is equal to backward reaction.So if the rate of forming products is equal rate of forming reactants are equal then it is a chemical equilibrium.That means the product itself can produce the orginal reactants at an equal speed.

Some chemical reactions go to (almost) completion; in other words everything you start with (your reactants) turn into something else (your products). Others don’t and instead give you a mixture of reactants and products because the products are able to react with each other and turn back into reactants. This results in an equilibrium.

It’s often called a Dynamic Equilibrium because the forward (reactants to products) and reverse (products to reactants) reactions are occurring at the same time so if you were able to see the individual molecules you would see a constant conversion between reactants and products. At equilibrium the reaction rates (how quickly they’re taking place) have become the same so, over time, there is no change in the amounts of each type of molecule in the mixture.