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What are the units of Kp, (Gas phase equilibrium)

  1. Oct 10, 2016 #1
    I know the units of Kc are mol/liter. The units of Kp are either mol/atm or just atm. Not really sure. I get mles atm and liters in my answer when i solve. Pretty weird
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Oct 10, 2016 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Actually Kp (and Kc) have no units.

    Note, that you will get different units for different reactions, depending on the set of coefficients used. Try

    2A ↔ B
    A ↔ B


    A ↔ 2B

    and you will see what I mean.

    That's when you try to express K using pressures or concentrations, but - what is often omitted in an approximate treatment used when teaching beginners - K is expressed using activities. As a first approximation activity is equal to the concentration (or pressure), but it can differ. We express it with

    aA = γA[A]

    where aA is activity of A, γA is its activity coefficient (with units chosen so that the activity becomes unitles) and [A] is the A concentration (but it could be pA, partial pressure of A, as well). For diluted solutions γ equals 1, but the higher the concentration, the more it can differ.

    Also note that having units on K is a sure way of getting into problems. In thermodynamics we often need to calculate log of K (as in ΔG=RTln(K)) , good luck doing that when K is not unitles.

    Edit: beaten by DrClaude.
  5. Oct 16, 2016 #4

    James Pelezo

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    Gold Member

    When is Kp = Kc?
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