Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions

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An Investigation into Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions Introduction: Have you ever wondered why a source of light gives of heat? Or why photosynthesis in plants cannot occur without sunlight? The answers to these questions are two reactions; known as Endothermic and Exothermic reactions. These two reactions are the reason why we are able to do many things. They will be discussed in a bit more detail below.. Exothermic Reactions: The word ‘Exo-’ means ‘gives off’ and ‘Thermo’ refers to heat. So in short Exothermic refers to the process of giving off heat. A proper definition states: ‘Exothermic reactions are physical or chemical reactions that may occur spontaneously, giving off energy in the form of heat, light, electricity or even sound’. During an exothermic reaction, a lot of heat is produced, causing the temperature of the immediate surroundings to rise rapidly. Exothermic reactions can be represented in a chemical equation as follows: reactants products + energy Diagram depicting an exothermic reaction: Two examples of exothermic reactions and how they influence and aid our lives will be displayed below * Combustion: Combustion or burning is the sequence of exothermic chemical reactions between a fuel and an oxidant. This reaction causes the production of heat and a conversion of chemicals. The reason we burn fuels for energy would be because the chemical changes that take place during the reaction release huge amounts of energy. An example that occurs in everyday life would be the internal combustion engines found in our motor-vehicles and motor-cycles. The combustion of gasoline (fuel) and oxygen, results in the engine turning and ultimately the vehicle moving. The result of all of this is the reason why we are able to move from point A to point B almost effortlessly and without the internal

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