# Le chatelier, pressure and volume

• Bengo
In summary, the conversation discusses a chemical reaction and how it will shift under different conditions. The question asks which change will not cause the reaction to shift to the right, and the answer is D. The person is confused about how changes in pressure and volume can affect the reaction, but they mention using a piston to keep pressure constant while changing volume. They also mention the use of a reaction quotient and partial pressures in analyzing these types of problems.
Bengo
This question has been bugging me and the more I think about it the more confused I get.

N2O4 ⇔2NO2

Question: the reaction will shift to the right with all of the following changes except

B. an increase in volume at constant pressure
C. A decrease in pressure at constant volume
D. Addition of helium gas to the system at constant volume

I know the answer is D but choice B and C confuse me because with pressure and volume, how can you change one without the other if the reaction is already at equilibrium? I can see if more reactants or products are introduced but the question doesn't say that.

Thank you

Think what temperature would do to the system and how you can try to control all the variable taking into account the temperature of the system.

Well my book says you can use a piston to keep pressure constant while changing the volume but I just don't understand how that's possible in this particular question when nothing else is being done to the system.

I'm out of practice with these questions but how will you change the volume inside a container (assumed by displacement of a piston) while keeping the pressure, temp and number of mols constant?

Something's got to give, no?

Also keep in mind that in these types of thermodynamics questions you occasionally need to forget the world and let the math do the talking. Are you familiar with the use of a reaction quotient and partial pressures when analyzing these problems?

for your question. Le Chatelier's principle states that when a system at equilibrium is subjected to a change, the system will respond in a way that minimizes the effect of that change. In the case of this reaction, increasing the volume at constant pressure will cause the equilibrium to shift to the side with the greater number of moles of gas, which is the right side in this case. This is because an increase in volume will decrease the overall pressure, and according to Le Chatelier's principle, the system will respond by increasing the number of moles of gas to compensate for the decrease in pressure. Similarly, a decrease in pressure at constant volume will cause the equilibrium to shift to the side with the lower number of moles of gas, which is the left side in this case.
Therefore, choices B and C are both correct and will cause a shift in the equilibrium. The reason why D is the correct answer is because the addition of helium gas does not affect the equilibrium as it is a non-reactive gas and does not participate in the reaction. Therefore, it will not cause a shift in the equilibrium.

In summary, changes in pressure and volume can both affect the equilibrium of a reaction, as they are directly related through the ideal gas law. However, the addition of a non-reactive gas, such as helium, will not affect the equilibrium and is therefore the exception in this question. I hope this clarifies your confusion.

## 1. How does Le Chatelier's principle relate to pressure and volume?

Le Chatelier's principle states that when a system at equilibrium is subjected to a stress, the system will shift in a direction that minimizes the stress. In terms of pressure and volume, this means that an increase in pressure will cause the system to shift to the side with fewer moles of gas, and a decrease in pressure will cause the system to shift to the side with more moles of gas. Similarly, an increase in volume will cause the system to shift to the side with more moles of gas, and a decrease in volume will cause the system to shift to the side with fewer moles of gas.

## 2. How does pressure affect equilibrium?

Pressure affects equilibrium by changing the concentrations of reactants and products in a system. An increase in pressure will cause the equilibrium to shift towards the side with fewer moles of gas, while a decrease in pressure will cause the equilibrium to shift towards the side with more moles of gas. This is due to Le Chatelier's principle, which states that a system will shift to minimize the stress placed upon it.

## 3. How does volume affect equilibrium?

Similar to pressure, volume affects equilibrium by changing the concentrations of reactants and products in a system. An increase in volume will cause the equilibrium to shift towards the side with more moles of gas, while a decrease in volume will cause the equilibrium to shift towards the side with fewer moles of gas. This is because a larger volume allows for more space for gaseous molecules to move around, while a smaller volume restricts their movement.

## 4. Can pressure and volume both affect equilibrium at the same time?

Yes, pressure and volume can both affect equilibrium at the same time. If both pressure and volume are changed, the equilibrium will shift in the direction that minimizes the overall stress on the system. For example, if pressure is increased and volume is decreased, the equilibrium will shift towards the side with fewer moles of gas, as this will minimize both the increase in pressure and decrease in volume.

## 5. How can we predict the direction of equilibrium shift when pressure or volume changes?

The direction of equilibrium shift can be predicted by using Le Chatelier's principle. If pressure or volume is increased, the equilibrium will shift in the direction that minimizes the stress, while if pressure or volume is decreased, the equilibrium will shift in the direction that minimizes the stress. Additionally, the equilibrium will shift towards the side with more moles of gas when volume increases or pressure decreases, and towards the side with fewer moles of gas when volume decreases or pressure increases.

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