The products of an exothermic reaction are more energetically stable than the reactants. True or false?
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I feel like the products would have lower energy so they would be more stable. Can someone confirm?
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@jcoury yes but why? Think lower energy = more stable. Whenever you form bonds energy is released; whenever you break bonds you need to put in a certain amount of enery. Moreover an exothermic reaction is one that releases energy, because the products are at a lower energy then the reactants;this is signified by a negative delta H. Now when we look at the products they are at a lower energy than the reactants, hence more stable, and energy was released in this process.
@mello think about it this way if the products were more stable energertically than the reactants, the forward reaction would not be as favorable. That would be an endothermic reaction, because the energy (products-reactants) would be positive, and that would imply that we would need to put in (generally) more energy to get it going.
Sometimes, though an endothermic reaction can be faster than an ectothermic reaction if the activation energy for the endothermic reaction is lower than the ectothermic reaction, the endothermic reaction may happen faster but lead to a less stable product. That's something called kinetic control, because kinetics dominates which product you get. Happens faster b/c activation energy is lower.
The other product with a higher activation energy, as you raise your temperature, that reaction may become more favorable and you'll get your thermodynamic product, which is your more stable product.