AQA A Level Chemistry

Revision Notes

5.3.3 Changes in Temperature & Pressure

Changes in Temperature & Pressure

  • We can apply Le Chatelier’s Principle to gaseous equilibria in the same way it is applied to aqueous systems
  • Here’s a reminder of how the principle works

Le Chatelier’s principle

  • Le Chatelier’s principle says that if a change is made to a system in dynamic equilibrium, the position of the equilibrium moves to counteract this change
  • The principle is used to predict changes to the position of equilibrium when there are changes in temperature, pressure or concentration

Predicting changes in Temperature & Pressure

Effects of temperature

  • How the equilibrium shifts with temperature changes:

Effects of temperature table, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

Effect on the value of Kp

  • For a reaction that is exothermic in the forward direction, increasing the temperature pushes the equilibrium from right to left
  • Therefore, the value of Kp will decrease as the ratio of [ products ] to [ reactants ] decreases
  • Conversely, if the temperature is raised in an endothermic reaction, the value of Kp will increase

Effects of pressure

  • Changes in pressure only affect reactions where the reactants or products are gases
  • How the equilibrium shifts with pressure changes:

Effects of pressure table, IGCSE & GCSE Chemistry revision notes

Effect on the value of Kp

  • The value of Kp is not affected by any changes in pressure.
  • Changes in pressure cause a shift in the position of equilibrium to a new position which restores the value of K
  • This is analogous to what happens to Kc when you change concentration in an aqueous equilibrium; a shift restores equilibrium to a new position maintaining Kc

Presence of a catalyst

  • If all other conditions stay the same, the equilibrium constant Kp is not affected by the presence of a catalyst
  • A catalyst speeds up both the forward and reverse reactions at the same rate so the ratio of  [ products ] to [ reactants ] remains unchanged
  • Catalysts only cause a reaction to reach equilibrium faster
  • Catalysts therefore have no effect on the position of the equilibrium once this is reached

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