Meaning of Exothermic Reaction

What is Exothermic Reaction:

An exothermic reaction is a chemical reaction that releases energy in the form of heat or light. The word exothermic derives from the Greek words exo which means ‘out’, and thermoswhich translates as ‘heat’.

This happens because the energy contained in the reactant molecules is greater than the energy contained in the product molecules, and part of this chemical energy is released in other forms, such as light and heat.

For example, potassium permanganate (oxygen-containing solid) and glycerin (combustible organic liquid) are two substances that react to produce light and heat (fire).

Another example is the result of mixing hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide, which generates bubbling, heat and finally smoke, which is the energy released from this exothermic reaction.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that oxidation reactions are mostly exothermic reactions. Likewise, the opposite of an exothermic reaction is a endothermic reactionwhich is the one through which energy is absorbed.

Examples of exothermic reactions

Here are some examples of exothermic reactions:

  • Combustion Reactions: When organic compounds such as coal and wood react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, light and heat are produced.
  • Detergent reaction: washing powder with water produces heat.
  • Ammonia formation: arises from the reaction of nitrogen with hydrogen.
  • Oxidation of glucose in cells: occurs to generate carbon dioxide and energy in the form of ATP.
  • Baking soda and vinegar: carbon dioxide and heat are released.

See also Chemical reaction.

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