MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Where is the equal sign in a chemical equation?

Date: Wed Jan 22 12:34:57 2003
Posted By: Plamen Angelov, Faculty, Organic Chemistry, University of Plovdiv
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1042499669.Ch

An arrow rather than an equal sign is used in a regular chemical equation because such equations account only for the material balance of the particular reaction, and not for the energetic change associated with this reaction.

If the energetic change has been taken into account, then an equal sign can be used. Such equations are called thermochemical.

Consider this example:

2 H2 + O2 ---> 2 H2O                 (arrow, energy change not included)
2 H2 + O2 = 2 H2O + 285 kJ/mol       (equal sign, energy change included)

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