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Binding energy and reaction direction

  1. Nov 16, 2014 #1
    I can't seem to find the answer i'm looking for on this, or at least one I understand.

    Can someone explain why a reaction will proceed if the binding energy of the reactants is larger than the products?
    I would assume that larger binding energy means the reactants are more stable and so will want to stay that way and therefore won't want to proceed in the direction towards less stable molecules.

    Can someone give me an easy to understand, intuitive explanation on this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I think you mean this the other way around: the reaction products will have larger binding energy, and will therefore be more stable, so they won't react. The reactants will have lower binding energy, and will therefore be less stable, and will react, to form the reaction products.
  4. Nov 17, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Even an endothermal reaction may occur spontaneously if the increase of entropy is large enough. The criterion for a reaction to occur spontaneously is not the reaction energy but the Gibbs free enthalpy of reaction.
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