Free Energy Diagrams

You might have heard of the terms thermodynamics and kinetics before, but in chemistry they mean something very specific. Free energy diagrams are going to give us a snapshot of what these terms mean. 

Atoms save energy by forming bonds. Free energy diagrams show overall changes in potential energy during reactions.

Free energy diagrams give us information on the spontaneity and rate of reactions:

  • Thermodynamics describes favorability. Determined by Gibbs Free Energy (ΔG° = ΔH° - TΔS)
  • Kinetics describes rate. Determined by the activation energy of the rate determining step (Ea).

Example: Describe the favorability and rate of the following free energy diagram.

3m

Example: Describe the favorability and rate of the following free energy diagram.

1m

Example: Describe the favorability and rate of the following free energy diagram.

2m

Example: Describe the favorability and rate of the following free energy diagram.

1m