Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions


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Ryan 1K
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am

Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Postby Ryan 1K » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:01 pm

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?

Andrew Liang 1I
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:18 am

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Postby Andrew Liang 1I » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:15 pm

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

Adriana_4F
Posts: 74
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:29 am

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Postby Adriana_4F » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:32 pm

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!

Ryan 1K
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am

Re: Reversible vs. Irreversible Reactions

Postby Ryan 1K » Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:14 pm

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?


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