This module introduces Gibb’s Free Energy in the context of understanding the nature of chemical reactions. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.
This activity maps to the OpenStax biology textbook, 6.2 Potential, Kinetic, Free, and Activation Energy
Student Introduction: In a chemical reaction, some bonds are broken in the reactants in order to form bonds in the products. Some product molecules will participate in the reverse reaction in order to reform reactants. The initial rate of product formation depends on the initial concentrations of reactants and products. As product concentration increases, the rate of the reverse reaction increases. Eventually, the rate of forward and reverse reactions become equal. Under these circumstances, the concentrations of reactants and products are constant, and the mixture is said to be in chemical equilibrium. Since breaking bonds requires energy and forming bonds releases energy, the net energy of a chemical reaction will depend on the sum of energy absorbed and generated. Eventually, the difference in energy between the reactants and products decreases as equilibrium is achieved.
Cite this work
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
- Gross, L., Beals, M., Harrell, S. (2018). Gibb’s Free Energy and the Nature of Chemical Reactions. Quantitative Biology at Community Colleges, /groups/qbcc, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4T72Z