Predict whether each process is spontaneous as described, spontaneous in the reverse direction, or in equilibrium: (a) Water at 40 °C gets hotter when a piece of metal heated to 150 °C is added. (b) Water at room temperature decomposes into H2(g) and O2(g). (c) Benzene vapor, C6H6(g), at a pressure of 1 atm condenses to liquid benzene at the normal boiling point of benzene, 80.1 °C.
(a) This process is spontaneous. Whenever two objects at different temperatures are brought into contact, heat is transferred from the hotter object to the colder one. The final temperature, after the metal and water achieve the same temperature , will be somewhere between the initial temperatures of the metal and the water. (b) this process is not spontaneous. Rather, the reverse process—the reaction of H2 and O2 to form H2O—is spontaneous. (c) The normal boiling point is the temperature at which a vapor at 1 atm is in equilibrium with its liquid. Thus, this is an equilibrium situation. If the temperature were below 80.1 °C, condensation would be spontaneous.