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Chemistry question, exothermic/endothermic

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by tshank, Sep 23, 2014.

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  1. tshank

    tshank 2+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    If an reaction is exothermic, does putting it in a cold environment make the reaction increase the product production or reactant production?

    I think the products would be favored. I can only rationalize it by ruling out the opposite: knowing that if the environment was hot then heat would be added to the reaction and it would be drive the reaction towards the products.
    But, can someone explain how the cold temperature would affect the products, or just rationalize the affirmative? Thanks
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  3. Carbon090

    Carbon090 Coffee pls 7+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2010
    From my reasoning, putting it into a cold environment is equivalent to taking away heat, thus since it's exothermic:

    A + B ---> C + Heat

    Taking away heat will end up increase product production.

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong :] I hope this helps!
    tdod likes this.
  4. tdod

    tdod 5+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2011
    this is correct. i will reiterate it for clarity.


    exothermic rxn: A --> B + heat

    when environment become cold, heat is lost, so the reaction shifts right. "an equilibrium system resists changes to equilibrium;" therefore, the system produces heat to counteract the lower temperature.

    Remember, Le Chatlier's principle applies to reactants, heat, and pressure/concentration.
  5. tshank

    tshank 2+ Year Member

    Jun 3, 2014
    @tdod and @Carbon090 , Thanks guys. Yeah, I think it helps me to remember that heat flow from hot object to cold environment - therefore, the colder the environment, the more heat transferred to it from the object before it reaches equilibrium. Thanks for the help.
  6. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    Thread closed. These types of questions belong in the MCAT Study Q&A forum only.

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