How are Exothermic and Endothermic Graphs Designed?

  • Date: November 18, 2021
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Many chemical reactions release some type of energy which is usually a form of heat, sound, or light.

These reactions are commonly known as exothermic graphs and endothermic graphs.

The best way to understand the reaction process is through a type of graph.

But how are exothermic and endothermic graphs designed? 

Both an exothermic and endothermic graph are designed in the same way but typically have completely opposite results. In both of these graphs, the “Y” axis is your energy, and the “X” axis is your reaction coordinate, and the line showing the results between both the energy and reaction coordinate is your potential energy.

Now you have a better understanding of how an exothermic and endothermic graph is designed, let’s discuss more what each of these graphs can tell us.

This way, you’ll be able to grasp a better understanding of how each of these works and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Below we go into greater detail about what both of these reactions are and the differences between them. 

endothermic graphs
exothermic graphs

Endothermic and Exothermic Reactions Explained

To the naked eye and by just looking at the graphs that are displayed by both chemical reactions, it can be hard to understand the difference between them.

Below we break each of them down to find out the true meaning of both of these reactions.

Endothermic

You’ll shortly discover that endothermic is the complete opposite to exothermic, and to create this type of reaction, it must be supplied with some kind of heat, like an oven or hob.

An endothermic reaction that you’ll encounter most days is if you cook eggs.

To cook the egg, there must be some type of heat that is absorbed from the environment in order for it to cook. This is the same for any other food.

Both the reactions vary because the amount of energy produced by the reactants is much fewer than the total products, as what an exothermic reaction would encounter.

This reaction will technically cool its environment because the endothermic reaction will draw the heat energy to itself.

The heat leaves the area that is being heated, and the temperature will slowly start to drop.

For example, if somebody has a cold hand when you touch it, an endothermic reaction will occur.

This is because your warm hand is providing radiant heat to their cold one.

The endothermic reaction also contains a lot more energy as it’s able to draw it in and store it through the form of chemical bonds.

In total, the product contains a higher net of energy than the current reactants in the chemicals that are at the beginning of the process.

The reason for this are stored energy.

If you go back to the hand example, the warm hand is a model of stored energy.

Exothermic

In simple words, an exothermic reaction makes the surrounding environments warmer because heat energy is released into the atmosphere as it’s radiating energy while performing the process.

A great example of this reaction is a campfire.

For instance, the energy that comes from the chemical bonds of wood and paper is created into light and heat.

Entities that are sitting around the campfire while this reaction is happening will become warmer because of the released heat.

This type of reaction contains less energy than what can be found in an endothermic reaction because of the removal of chemical bonds that cause it to ignite.

Like a match, for example, some type of activation energy is needed to get the reaction process started.

Following the process, the product has more compact and lower heat. 

Some good examples that can be shared between both chemical reactions are photosynthesis and sweating.

During this process, the endothermic reaction is when the plant collects energy from the environment and the atmosphere through evaporation.

Now with an exothermic reaction, it would include rain as condensation of water vapor and the energy used to absorb it through evaporation.

The exact process works with sweating.

Endothermic takes place when sweating is cooling down a person, and exothermic is the chemical reaction to release the heat to sweat.

In brief endothermic involves energy or some type of heat being absorbed by its environment (remember the campfire example), and the exothermic reaction is simply the energy involved with releasing that energy to its surroundings.

Endothermic vs Exothermic

Endothermic graph and Exothermic Graph

After reading both of the brief descriptions above, you should be able to grasp the difference between both an endothermic and exothermic reaction.

But to clarify it and wrap it up, I thought it would be a great idea to make a small comparison between the two.

The main difference between both an endothermic and exothermic reaction involves the environment they’re placed in.

An endothermic reaction will start to take place when some type of radiant energy is absorbed from its surroundings, whereas an exothermic reaction will occur when there’s the energy released from the system into its surroundings.

As an example, the reaction will occur when two or more molecules work with each other and as a result of this, something will happen, such as illumination or the production of radiant heat.

If it helps, exothermic produces the heat itself, and the endothermic reaction actually absorbs the heat.

It may also help if you understood that “endo” means inside and “Exo” correlates to outside, and obviously “thermic” refers to heat.

Experiments You Can Perform To Gather Data

If you want to put your graph knowledge to the test, you can actually perform an experiment, so you’re able to gather data.

There are many exothermic and endothermic experiments that you can choose to perform, which mainly consist of some type of toxic chemical reaction or something like extreme heat or cold.

An example of an exothermic reaction could be dissolving laundry powder in your hand with a splash of water.

For an endothermic reaction, you could dissolve potassium chloride in your hand with some water.

However, below you’re able to see some safe experiments you’re able to perform to achieve appropriate data for your chart.

  • To understand how to perform the detergent exothermic reaction or similar ones like the elephant toothpaste demonstration, click here.
  • Now, if you want to create an endothermic reaction, I recommend an adult accompanies you, and you’re able to understand more about how to perform that experiment here.

With all of these experiments, make sure you understand that there are risks involved in doing these.

Make sure you take extra safety precautions, and if you need to be accompanied by an adult, wait until one is able to.

Because the typical experience of both exothermic and endothermic reactions can cause extreme cold or hot heat, be aware that these can either give you frostbite or burns.

How to Plot Graphs

Conclusion

You should now be able to have a general understanding of what both an exothermic and endothermic reaction is.

With this information, you’ll now be able to perform the experiments that are mentioned above and apply them to the X and Y chart that you’ve discovered how to make.

When successfully performing each experiment, you’ll shortly come to discover that both of these reactions are similar but just opposite.

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