Problem: From a molecular viewpoint, where does the energy emitted in an exothermic chemical reaction come from?

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We’re being asked to explain where the energy emitted in an exothermic reaction comes from.


Recall that:

Exothermic reactions

lose energy, releases heat, temperature of the surroundings increases
▪ involves bond formation (for phase change: gas → liquid → solid)
ΔH is negative

Endothermic reactions

gain/requires energy, absorbs heat, temperature of the surroundings decreases
▪ involves breaking bonds (for phase change: solid → liquid → gas)
ΔH is positive

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Problem Details

From a molecular viewpoint, where does the energy emitted in an exothermic chemical reaction come from?

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