Le Chatelier’s Principle
Chemistry is one the widely pursued scientific field. There are thousands of principles or laws that are used to explain many chemistry laws or theorems. The Le Chatelier’s principle also known as the Chatelier’s principle or the equilibrium law is a principle used to predict the effect of a change in conditions on a chemical equilibrium. It is a reputed principle named after Henry Louis Le Chatelier and sometimes Karl Ferdinand Braun who discovered the law individually.
Le Chatelier’s principle is easy to comprehend. Interestingly, it states that; when a system at the equilibrium is subjected to change in concentration, volume, temperature or pressure, then the equilibrium readjusts itself to counteract the effect of the applied change and a new equilibrium is established. In 1884 the French chemist and engineer henry Louis Le Chatelier proposed one of the core concepts of chemical equilibrium which explains what takes place to a system when something briefly removes it from a state of equilibrium.
It is essential to comprehend that the Le Chatelier principle is only an important guide when identifying what happens when the conditions are altered in a reaction in a dynamic equilibrium and it does not give reasons for the changes at the molecular level. There are numerous areas to look at and comprehend how the Le Chatelier’s Principle works.
- Effect on change in concentration- Changing the concentration of a chemical will shift the equilibrium to the side that will lead to a reduction in the change in concentration. The chemical system of choice will tend to partially oppose the change affected to the original state of equilibrium. On top of this, the rate of reaction, magnitude and the yield of the chemical products will be changed in response to the impact on the system.
- Impact of the change in temperature- The effect of charging temperature in the equilibrium can be made apparent by, incorporating heat as either a product or a reactant or by assuming that an increase in temperature will increase the temperature the heat content of system. Whether increasing or decreasing the temperature would favor the forward or reverse reaction. Hence, all can be determined by applying Le Chatelier’s theorem.
- Effect of the change in pressure- Changes in pressure can lead to changes in volume. Notably, the equilibrium concentrations of the product and reactants do not directly depend on the pressure that is exposed to the system. Change in pressure due to change in volume will shift the chemical equilibrium.
- Effects of a catalyst- A catalyst has no influence on the equilibrium, but it spends upwards and backwards reactions and equally.
- Impact of adding an inert gas- an inert gas or noble gas like helium is one that does not react with other elements. Adding a noble gas into gas-phase equilibrium at constant volume does not result in a shift. An addition of a non-reactive gas does not impact partial pressures of the other gas in the container.
The Le Chatelier’s principle has unmatched influence not only in chemistry, but also in economics. A similar concept was also introduced in economics by U.S economist Paul Samuelson in 1947. The principle is generalized to apply in maximum condition of economic equilibrium. Factor-demand and commodity supply elasticity’s are theorized to be lower in short term but not on long term basis because of the fixed-cost constraint in the short run.