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Application of equilibrium constant

  1. Biological example of equilibrium shift - oxygenation of hemoglobin in blood
    1. Reaction that occurs in red blood cell
      HHb = Hemoglobin
      O2 = oxygen
      HbO2- = Oxygenated hemoglobin = oxyhemoglobin ion
      In red blood cell (RBC) the following equilibrium occurs
      HHb + O2 → HbO2- + H+
    2. Effect of increasing [O2] in the lungs by inhaling
      Shift toward oxygenation
    3. Effect of breathing oxygen rich air
      Shift toward oxygenation
    4. What happens if the blood is in acidosis i.e. it has too high a level of H+?
      Shift toward deoxygenation
    5. How the body forces this reaction toward oxygenation in lungs
      HCO3- + H+ → H2CO3
      H2CO3 → H2O + CO 2
      The shift that causes oxygenation of Hb is called the isohydric shift.
    6. How exhaling air and lowering levels of CO2 in the lungs affect this Equilibrium?
      Oxygen goes on the Hb molecule
      H2 CO3 → H2O + CO2
      HCO3 - + H+  H2CO3
      HHb + O2 HbO2-+ H+
    7. In RBC at Tissue
      CO2 + H2O  H2CO3

      H2CO3 → H+ + HCO3-
      H+ + HbO2-  HHb + O2
    8. Equilibrium considerations at the tissue level
      Effect of elevated CO2 at the tissue level
      Shift toward deoxygenation
      Isohydric shift at the tissue level
      Shift toward deoxygenation
      Effect of cell depleting the O2 levels at tissue level
      Shift toward deoxygenation
      Detrimental effects of alkalosis (blood has too low a level of H+) upon O2 removal at the tissue level
      Makes it harder to remove oxygen from hemoglobin
  2. Capable of predicting the yield of a compound by varying the condition if the equilibrium constant is known
  3. Can take a reaction in the desired direction if we know the reversible reaction
  4. Used in the synthesis of the following compounds
    1. The Contact Process equilibrium
      You will remember that the equation for this is

      Kp is given by
    2. The Haber Process equilibrium
      The equation for this is

      . . . and the Kp expression is
    3. The equilibrium produced on heating calcium carbonate
      This equilibrium is only established if the calcium carbonate is heated in a closed system, preventing the carbon dioxide from escaping.

      The only thing in this equilibrium which isn't a solid is the carbon dioxide. That is all that is left in the equilibrium constant expression.

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