MadSci Network: Chemistry

Subject: If a reaction needs a match to happen, is it spontaneous or not?

Date: Fri Sep 1 07:36:31 2006
Posted by Tamar Charry
Grade level: teacher/prof School: William Penn Charter School
City: Philadelphia State/Province: PA Country: USA
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1157121391.Ch

I'm confused about spontaneous reactions, particularly with regard to burning. 
Is the burning of wood a spontaneous reaction? Does the fact that it rquires a 
match make it non-spontaneous? Or, is the oxidation happening anyway, it's just 
speeded up by the match? If a reaction requires a large input of energy, does 
that mean it's non-spontaneous at regular temps but becomes spont at higher 
temps? I think activation energy plays a role here -- but if the activation 
energy is high, then isn't the reaction non-spontaneous unless it's overcome? 
I'm confused!

Re: If a reaction needs a match to happen, is it spontaneous or not?

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