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Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:01 pm
by Ryan 1K
I can understand the logic behind the varying amounts of work depending on what type of reaction is being discussed, but I'm still having trouble understanding the conceptual aspects of these terms. What separates reversible reactions from irreversible reactions?

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:15 pm
by Andrew Liang 1I
The main difference between reversible and irreversible reactions is their speed of reaction. Reversible is very slow and therefore in this type of reaction the temperature will be constant. On the other hand, Irreversible reaction is very fast and therefore the temperature will be different from the time the reaction began and end

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:32 pm
by Adriana_4F
An irreversible process happens when a constant external pressure is acting on (let's say) a gas.
Imagine attaching a heavy weight to a spring; the spring will stretch, however, once you take off all the weight the spring will not be able to revert back to its original size. This is an irreversible process.

Now let's say you have another spring but little by little you add an infinitely small amount of weight. The spring will also stretch, but if you were to take away an infinitely small amount of weight, the spring will be able to revert back to its previous state. This is a reversible process

Hope this helps!

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Posted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:14 pm
by Ryan 1K
Thanks for the replies. However, there is still one aspect that I am a little confused about. How does work tie in with these reactions? Why do reversible reactions have perform a greater amount of work? I can understand this based on the area under the curves, but can someone explain this conceptually?