• anonymous
What's the difference between heat of reaction and enthalpy of reaction?
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • katieb
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  • Rogue
There really isn't any difference. They are both measures of the change of enthalpy in a system or reaction.
  • anonymous
None. "Heat of reaction" is simply an older term. In part this arises because of the deep confusion surrounding the nature of heat before the work of James Joule and other thermodynamicists of the 19th century. Before it was clearly established that heat is a form of energy, the most popular idea was that it was a substance of some kind, sometimes called "caloric," which could be contained within another substance like water in a sponge. When your idea of "heat" is that it's a substance of some kind, it makes sense to think of a chemical compound as containing a certain amount of it, and a chemical reaction as releasing some it. Hence, the idea of treating heat as if it was just another chemical reactant. A lot of useful math works out well using this idea, so in part we still sometimes pretend as if heat is, indeed, just another chemical reactant.

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