Is the reaction exothermic?

Exothermic reaction

An exothermic reaction is a chemical reaction that releases energy. What exactly this is all about, we'll cover in this article. You are in the basics of chemistry section

In this article we look at the exothermic reaction. I will go into the important fundamentals of chemistry again in a moment to explain exactly these relationships. However, if you have any major gaps in your previous knowledge, I advise you to read the following articles first:


Exothermic reaction properties

You should already know from chemistry lessons or our article "Activation Energy" that a so-called energy mountain has to be crossed for chemical reactions. Energy is thus supplied to various substances, so that a reaction occurs. In the following, an exothermic reaction will be considered. In the case of an exothermic reaction, heat is released into the environment. First of all, take a look at the following graphic, with which I would like to explain the context.

This is the course of an exothermic reaction. The energy is plotted on the vertical axis and the reaction time is plotted on the horizontal axis. The course says the following:

  • The starting materials have a certain amount of energy (energy level).
  • Energy is added to the raw materials, the energy increases.
  • Once the "mountain of energy" is reached, the reaction begins. The energy required for this is the so-called activation energy.
  • Then energy is released, which is released into the environment.
  • The end materials have less energy than the starting materials, as the energy released has been released into the environment.

Examples of exothermic reactions

We have just covered what an exothermic reaction is. A few more examples of exothermic reactions will now follow. In doing so, I stick to relatively simple examples, which are at least partly carried out in chemistry lessons.

Example 1: oxyhydrogen / oxyhydrogen sample

An oxyhydrogen gas test is often carried out in chemistry classes. The aim is to provide evidence of hydrogen. The oxyhydrogen reaction is an exothermic, explosive reaction between hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). The reaction produces water (H.2O). The chemical formula looks like this: 2H2 + O2 → 2H2O.

Example 2: gasification of coal

In special generators, air and steam are alternately supplied to a layer of coke. The supply of air - also known as hot blowing - is exothermic. The chemical formula is: 2C + O2 → 2CO.

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