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So in all the chemical equilibrium equations, there is a double arrow symbol that points both ways of the equation. Does this mean that the reaction is happening both ways at the same time? For example, are the reactants turning into products and products turning into reactants at the same time? Or what does it mean?
The arrows incorporate the idea of equilibrium, meaning that the reaction flows in both directions constantly. The goal behind equilibrium is to see how much reactants and products are being used, and how at what rate they are reacting.
The double arrows are used to express the state of dynamic equilibrium--both reactions are occurring at the same time at stable rates so that the concentrations/pressures of each do not change. From what I remember from high school I believe the reverse reaction is not always happening (if there are only reactants then the product can't be made to from reactant again!) but as amount of reactant decreases and amount of product increases, the rate of product formation decreases and the rate of reactant formation increases until both stabilize at the equilibrium point.
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