How to Calculate Energy Transfer in Chemistry Classes

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Calculating energy transfer in chemistry is required to complete a large number of different types of problems. Calculate energy transfer in chemistry with help from an experienced math professional in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Ryan Ault. I'm a physicist and this is how to calculate energy transfer in chemistry classes. So, the first thing you want to do is identify your system, right? So, you could have any type of closed system, it could be a piston inside of a car, it could be anything, but imagine this is closed so that no energy is being exchanged with the outside environment. Now, if you have two items inside of here, at two different initial temperatures, a process is going to occur where they reach thermal equilibrium. So, you could have one item with temperature T1, you could have another item with temperature T2. Now, they'll exchange energy and T1 will go to T1 final, so we call it prime, and T2 will go to T2 prime. Now, if we wait long enough, T1 prime will be equal to T2 prime and that just means that whatever these two substances are they'll reach thermal equilibrium in the end. Now, assume they don't and assume some chemical process occurs so that some of the energy involved goes into a process so these temperatures won't exactly reflect what they would be if that wasn't the case. So, now, if we want to find the energy going to the process, we can use the equation, change in energy equals Q plus W. Now, what is Q, W? So, Q is the heat that goes into a system and the equation is M, C delta T. The W is the work going into a system. So, if we could imagine our closed system having dimensions, the volume or something, and the dimensions were changing so if you compressed it, we would find that there was some work done on the system. Now, in our case, the dimensions are staying the same, so there is no work done on the system, the work is zero, and we find that, if there is a chemical equation involved in this, some chemical process, delta E will be non-zero. So, it might be positive, it might be negative, it just depends on how you think of it, right? So, in our case though, say there is some chemical process, so it's non-zero and we can find the delta E is equal to M1, C1, which is the specific heat. You can look this up online and you can find that it's multiplied by delta T1. So that's that T1 prime minus T1. And, there's one more term, it's involved with the other substance, so you have its mass, times its specific heat, times the change in its temperature. And, using this equation right here, we can find the amount of energy that goes into a chemical process. I'm Ryan Ault and this is how to calculate energy transfer in chemistry classes.


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