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General Chemistry

Learn the toughest concepts covered in Chemistry with step-by-step video tutorials and practice problems by world-class tutors

19. Chemical Thermodynamics

Spontaneous Reaction

Thermodynamics is the branch of physical science concerned with heat and its transformations to and from other forms of energy. 

Spontaneous & Nonspontaneous Reactions

Understanding Spontaneity

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Hey, guys, In this new video, we're gonna take a look at thermal chemical processes. Now, we're going to say that the section of physical science concerned with the transformation of heat and other forms of energy from one type to another is called thermal dynamics. What we're gonna say here is when it comes to a chemical reaction, just realize sometimes they occur other other times they don't, and it's really based on the conditions at the moment that a chemical reaction can or won't happen. Now what we're gonna say is this chapter is concerned with one key word. Spontaneous is a reaction spontaneous or is a reaction non spontaneous? The deeper into this chapter we get into, we're gonna learn that there's certain variables such as Delta, G, Delta S and even K, all of these together in some way help to determine if a reaction is spontaneous or not. Now, when we say spontaneous, just remember, we're gonna say a reaction that requires no outside energy source is classified as a natural process. So think about it. Let's think of a boulder, a huge rock rolling down a hill. We're going to say that huge boulder doesn't require any type of energy to roll down that hill. It's using its own momentum in order to do that. We're going to say that since it doesn't require any type of energy for toe happen, then it's a spontaneous reaction. Now, on the flip side, let's say we have a reaction where we have to continuously feed it energy in in order for it to occur. So if you're supplying a continuous amount of energy to something, we're gonna classify it as a non spontaneous reaction. We're gonna say non spontaneous reactions are unnatural. They constantly need energy for them to occur. So let's say we want to run our car well. Our car cannot spontaneously run itself without any type of energy. We have to give it a battery. We have to give it gasoline. Without these sources of energy, the car can ignite and start off and and move on its own. So I just remember the movement of a car will be classified as a non spontaneous reaction. Now, just remember, spontaneity deals with thermal dynamics, so we're shifting our reaction from one side to another in a balanced equation. But remember, spontaneous has nothing to do with kinetics. Kinetics deals with speed. Ah, spontaneous reaction could take a minute toe occur. It could take a million years to occur. The fact that it occurs without the need of outside energy makes it a spontaneous reaction. The length of time it takes for it to happen has nothing to do with if it's spontaneous or not. Now, knowing this, let's take a look at the first example. So here it says, which of the following statements is not true. Not true. We're gonna say the reverse off a spontaneous reaction is always non spontaneous. Well, just remember, we're talking about thermal dynamics here. Thermal dynamics deals with shifting of reactions, so we go in both directions. We can go in the four direction, or we could go in the reverse direction. And just remember, if you're spontaneous in one direction, then you would be non spontaneous in the reverse. So the first one is true. Next, we're gonna say spontaneous reaction always moves towards equilibrium again. We're talking about thermodynamics. Thermodynamics, deals with equilibrium, we're gonna say for reaction is spontaneous. It wants to get to equilibrium because when you add equilibrium, your balance, everything is copasetic. Everything is good. So we're gonna say here a spontaneous reaction does move towards equilibrium. Next. Ah, highly spontaneous reaction can occur at a fast or a slow rate. Now we're gonna say Like we said before, spontaneity has nothing to do with Kinetics. Ah, spontaneous reaction could take a minute to happen. Or it could take a million years toe happen. The fact that it can happen makes it a spontaneous reaction. Spontaneous reactions occur, so this leaves us with our last choice Here. Here it says it is possible to create a non spontaneous reaction. Now this might seem weird, but non spontaneous reactions are again unnatural. They do not occur. We can supply constant energy to something. But once you take away that energy source, the reaction is going to cease. Its gonna stop. It's not going to continue. So when we say it is not possible to create a non spontaneous reaction, what we're saying here is I can't create something and then take away the energy and expected to continue toe happen. That's what this sentence is really saying. So d would be false. We cannot create a non spontaneous reaction Once I once I have a non spontaneous for to continue to occur, I need to constantly feed it energy. Once I take away that energy, it no longer happens. So I really can't create a non spontaneous reaction because you cannot supply energy forever toward the reaction. You don't have enough sources to do that now. Seeing how we answer these questions, I want you guys to attempt to do the next one on your own and just remember, think about it needing her head in order to answer the question. Does this happen in real life? If it happens in real life, it's most likely a spontaneous reaction if it doesn't quite make sense. Oh, this shouldn't happen. You know, my car shouldn't just start on its own and and drive itself home without the use of a battery of gasoline. Then you're gonna say that's a non spontaneous reaction. So again, natural processes occur. Natural processes are spontaneous, unnatural processes don't occur in real life. They don't make any sense for them. Toe happen. Those air non spontaneous use that type of logic in order to solve this practice question

A reaction that requires no outside energy source is classified as a natural process and is spontaneous. 


A reaction that requires a continuous energy source to happen is classified as an unnatural process and is nonspontaneous. 


Which of the following statements is/are true?

a) The rusting of iron by oxygen is a non-spontaneous reaction.

b) The addition of a catalyst to a reaction increases spontaneity.

c) The movement of heat from a cold object to a hot object is a non-spontaneous reaction.

d) The diffusion of perfume molecules from one side of a room to the other is a non-spontaneous reaction.

e) None of the above.