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The reaction quotient is the ratio of products and reactants with their stoichiometric counterparts of an equilibrium reaction at ANY point. Equilibrium constants however is this ratio at equilibrium. Q and K are both calculated the same exact way but at (possibly) different points of the equilibrium reaction
The equilibrium constant is K and Q is the reaction quotient. While they are calculated the same way ([products]/[reactants]), they are different. Q is the quantity of products and reactants that actually changes as the system approaches equilibrium. K is the numerical value of Q at the end of the reaction when equilibrium is reached. In comparing Q and K, we can see whether the forward or reverse reaction is favored. If Q>K, then the concentration of reactants is greater than the concentration of products and the forward reaction is favored. The opposite occurs when K>Q.
The reaction quotient and equilibrium constant are calculated in the same way. The reaction quotient (Q) represents a value at a random point during a reaction where as the equilibrium constant (K) represents a value at exactly equilibrium (when the rate of the forward reaction is equal to rate of the reverse reaction). By comparing K and Q, we can see what stage a reaction is at. In other words, by comparing K and Q we can see whether the forward or reverse reaction is preferred.
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