Chemical equilibrium

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A chemical reaction reaches equilibrium when there is a constant ratio between the concentration of the reactants and the products as the forward and reverse reactions occur at the same rate.

Connection to Big Idea about energy: As any phenomenon in nature, a chemical reaction occurs spontaneously only if the total energy of the products is lower than this of the reactants. The chemical equilibrium is reached when the all net change will cease. 

Connection to Big Idea about the universe: Exoplanets that look like “large Earths”, the so called super-Earths, host clouds in their atmospheres. Scientist are able to determine which condensates are likely to form modelling the cloud formation process under the aspect of chemical equilibrium.  

Connection to Big Idea about the evolution: The wonderful shapes and the variety of colors that we see in many animals and insects such as butterflies, exotic fishes, tigers and leopards are strongly related to the inability of cells’ to reach chemical equilibrium. If the cells responsible for these features were in chemical equilibrium then everything would be uniform and monochromatic.

Connection to Big Idea about the cell: Cells have the internal tendency to reach chemical equilibrium but they never do so. The reason is that the system is not isolated. The consumption of food and excretion of matter do not occur with the same rate. In addition, the conditions (e.g. temperature) under which the chemical reactions are taking place do not remain constant.

Subjects related: Chemistry

Age ranges: 12-13,13-14,14-15,15-16,16-17,17-18



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