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Ch400Ch8LN3 - Intro to Entropy and Free Energy Spontaneity...

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Intro to Entropy and Free Energy Spontaneity What does it mean when we say a process is spontaneous? A spontaneous process is one which occurs naturally with no external influence. The reverse process will not occur naturally under the same conditions! Spontaneous processes may occur slowly or quickly, spontaneous does not mean that it is an instantaneous process. What are some examples of spontaneous processes? Water running downhill (Ever see it go uphill naturally?) • A ball rolling downhill Iron rusts in the presence of oxygen and water A gas fills an empty container (It would never evacuate the container on its own!) Wood burns to form carbon dioxide and water Hydrogen gas reacting with oxygen gas to form water (With a bang!) Water freezes below 0°C; water melts above 0°C (What does it do at 0°C?) • Cold packs • Hot packs So, how can you tell whether a chemical rxn or physical process will occur spontaneously (naturally with no external influence)? Also, why is a rxn spontaneous and under what conditions (temperature, etc.)? To answer this, we need to talk about the two factors of spontaneity: enthalpy (a measure of the heat energy change in a system; you just learned this) and entropy (a measure of the randomness or disorder of a system) Back to Enthalpy!
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