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Consider the reaction:
What will be the effect of a decrease in pressure on the reaction?
- A. The equilibrium will shift
- B. Rate of forward reaction will increase
- C. Rate of backward reaction will increase
- D. Rates of forward and backward reaction are not affected
Change in pressure on a chemical reaction will only affect a reaction that has at least one of the products or reactants as gas. For the above reaction, two volumes of gas can be found on the left-hand side, while one volume of gas can be found on the right.
Now, increase in pressure will favor the side with more volume, and a decrease will favor the side with less volume.
Hence, a decrease in pressure in the above reaction will favor the backward reaction.
Now for the right answer to the above question:
- Option A is incorrect. yes the equilibrium position will shift, but this option does not specify the direction of shift.
- Option B is incorrect. rate of forward reaction will only increase if the pressure is increased, and not decreased.
- C is correct. Decrease in pressure favors the side with lesser volume of gas.
- D is not the correct answer. As long as the volume of gas on both sides is not equal, the rate of forward and backward reaction must be affected.
You may please note these/this:
- Pressure does not affect a reaction where neither the reactant nor the product contains a gas.
- One of the products or reactants must be gaseous for change in pressure to affect the rate of reaction.
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/culled from 2019 JAMB-UTME Chemistry question 23/