Question Video: Identifying the Statement That Best Describes the Enthalpy Change of a Backward Reaction | Nagwa Question Video: Identifying the Statement That Best Describes the Enthalpy Change of a Backward Reaction | Nagwa

Question Video: Identifying the Statement That Best Describes the Enthalpy Change of a Backward Reaction Chemistry • Third Year of Secondary School

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Which statement about the enthalpy change for the backward reaction in a reversible reaction is true? [A] The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is less in magnitude than the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. [B] The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is greater in magnitude than the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. [C] The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is the same in magnitude as the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. [D] The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is half the amount of the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. [E] The enthalpy change for the backward reaction equals the activation energy plus the enthalpy change for the forward reaction.

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Video Transcript

Which statement about the enthalpy change for the backward reaction in a reversible reaction is true? (A) The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is less in magnitude than the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. (B) The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is greater in magnitude than the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. (C) The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is the same in magnitude as the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. (D) The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is half the amount of the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. (E) The enthalpy change for the backward reaction equals the activation energy plus the enthalpy change for the forward reaction.

To answer this question, we need to know how the enthalpy change for the backward reaction in a reversible reaction compares to the enthalpy change for the forward reaction. Let’s remove the answer choices for now while we discuss enthalpy changes.

Enthalpy change, denoted as Δ𝐻, is the net change in the internal energy of a system. To better understand enthalpy changes in reversible reactions, let’s consider the following equilibrium reaction. We’ll start by focusing on the forward reaction. The reactants N2 and three H2 have a certain amount of potential energy. Energy must be supplied to break the bonds in these molecules. Energy is released when new bonds form to create the products, two NH3.

The net change in the energy is the enthalpy change. When the potential energy of the products is lower than the potential energy of the reactants, the change in enthalpy is negative, indicating that there is a net release of energy during the reaction. For this particular reaction, the change in enthalpy is negative 92 kilojoules per mole.

Now, let’s examine the backward reaction. In the backward reaction, two NH3 is the reactant. It has the same potential energy regardless of whether it’s the reactant or product. N2 and three H2 are the products. Like two NH3, these species have the same potential energy regardless of whether they are reactants or products. As with the forward reaction, energy needs to be supplied in order to break the bonds in the reactants. Notice that the amount of energy needed to break the bonds in two NH3 is the same amount of energy that is released when the bonds of two NH3 form.

Energy is released to form the bonds of nitrogen and hydrogen. This is the same amount of energy that is necessary to break the bonds in the forward reaction. The net change in the energy is the enthalpy change. As the products in the reverse reaction have a higher potential energy than the reactants, the change in enthalpy is positive, indicating that the reverse reaction requires a net increase in the energy of the system.

We should be able to see from this example that the enthalpy change for the backward reaction has the same magnitude as the enthalpy change for the forward reaction but the opposite sign. So, for this example reaction, the enthalpy change for the backward reaction would be positive 92 kilojoules per mole.

Now, let’s bring back the answer choices. The statement about the enthalpy change for the backward reaction in a reversible reaction that is true is answer choice (C). The enthalpy change for the backward reaction is the same in magnitude as the enthalpy change for the forward reaction.

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