The model Gibbs free energy is zero at equilibrium as the energy is conserved. However, this zero energy is caused by an imbalance between kinetic and potential energy. If kinetic energy is equal to potential energy, Gibbs free energy should be zero at equilibrium when the two energies are equal. In fact, energy in the system can be much different, as when the energy of a molecule is much higher than the kinetic energy. This can be an important consideration during energy transfer.
This has important implications for energy transfer in other systems, such as the reaction between a chemical catalyst and an alkali metal salt. If the reaction is carried out using the free energy of the catalyst, the energy of the chemical reaction will not be converted back into a positive potential energy, but rather will be used for accelerating the chemical reaction.
This is not a problem for reaction between an alkaline salt and a chemical. The free energy and potential energy should equalize at equilibrium, which could occur when two substances have the same composition of a reactive. This implies that, in general, the system Gibbs free energy would behave like a kinetic energy to a large extent.
Free energy for chemical reactions
The reaction between a chemical catalyst and an alkaline salt is shown in equation 1 above. The difference between reaction rates for the two compounds is determined by the kinetic energy of an electron in the reaction product, but not the kinetic energy of the catalyst itself. It is possible to calculate the free energy of the catalyst for a particular reaction product.
The free energy of chemistry does not change when comparing two reactions, but can vary for several important reasons:
the reaction product can change,
the reaction product is in equilibrium, or
the free energy is not the same as the free energy of the reaction product.
The free energies of the reaction systems can be calculated in the following manner
where and are the reaction rates of the two reaction products, , and the free energy of the reaction product per mole of , respectively,
is the kinetic energy of reaction and is the potential energy of the reaction product.
The free energies of several reactions are given by the equation
In terms of the reaction rates, each of these factors in each reaction system determines the specific free energy and the specific reactivity of that reaction system.
Free energy as a function of the reaction parameters
The average free energy of a reaction can depend on the reaction parameters of the system. This is shown in the following diagram.
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