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In thermodynamics, the word exothermic describes a process or reaction that releases energy in the form of heat. Its etymology stems from the Greek prefix ex-, meaning “outside” and the Greek word thermein, meaning “to heat”. The term “exothermic” was coined by Marcellin Berthelot. The opposite of an exothermic process is an endothermic process, one that absorbs energy in the form of heat.
Additional recommended knowledge
Exothermic refers to a transformation in which a system releases energy (heat) to the surroundings:
When the transformation occurs at constant pressure:
and constant volume:
In an adiabatic system (i.e. a system that does not give off heat to the surroundings), an exothermic process results in an increase in temperature.
Some examples of exothermic processes are:
Implications for chemical reactions
Chemical exothermic reactions are generally more spontaneous than their counterparts, endothermic reactions. In a thermochemical reaction that is exothermic, the heat is placed as a product on the product's side (heat is a product of the reaction).
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Exothermic". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|