Le Chatelier’s Principle

A dynamic equilibrium refers to a state in which the forward and reverse reactions of a chemical reaction occur at the same rate. The position of equilibrium refers to the relative concentrations of reactants and products.

Several factors can affect the position of equilibrium in a chemical reaction, including:

  • Concentration
  • Temperature
  • Pressure (for gaseous reactants)

It’s important to understand how these factors can affect a system in chemical equilibrium.

Le Chatelier’s principle states that if a change is applied to a system in dynamic equilibrium, the position of equilibrium will shift to counteract this change. In other words, the system will try to maintain its equilibrium by shifting the position of the equilibrium in a direction that opposes the change.

  • When the position of equilibrium shifts to RIGHT, the concentration of products increases
  • When the position of equilibrium shifts to LEFT, the concentration of reactants increases

We can predict changes to the position of equilibrium when there are changes in the concentration, temperature or pressure.