Le Chatelier’s Principle and Endo/Exothermic Reactions

Chemistry Tutorial

Le Chatelier's Principle and Endo/Exothermic Reactions

Intro

Adding or removing a product or reactant will shift the equilibrium of a reaction by Le Chatelier’s Principle. Adding or removing energy will have the same effect. Endothermic reactions take in energy, while exothermic reactions give off heat. Therefore, in an endothermic reaction, energy can be thought of as a reactant, and in an exothermic, it can be thought of as a product. Think about how this will affect the equilibrium.

Sample Problem

Suppose there is an endothermic reaction of the form A + B -> C + D. How will the addition of energy to the system affect the equilibrium? Will it shift? If so, what way?

Solution

The reaction is an endothermic reaction, so we can think of energy as a reactant. Introducing energy is like introducing a reactant, so by Le Chatelier’s principle, the equilibrium will shift to the right, or towards the product side.



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