## Unlocking the Secrets of Helmholtz Free Energy and Gibbs Free Energy

When it comes to understanding the behavior of thermodynamic systems, there are several state functions that come into play. Two of these state functions that are particularly important are Helmholtz free energy and Gibbs free energy.

These two energy functions help us understand the relationship between internal energy, enthalpy, and entropy, which are key factors in spontaneous chemical reactions or any process that deals with energy transfer. In this article, we will discuss the essential concepts related to Helmholtz free energy and Gibbs free energy.

We’ll start by defining Helmholtz energy and its importance, then move on to its equation and how it changes during reversible and irreversible processes. We’ll then compare Helmholtz energy to Gibbs energy, highlighting the conditions, equations, and applications of both.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of both of these energy functions and their crucial role in the world of thermodynamics. What is Helmholtz Free Energy?

Helmholtz free energy, also known as Helmholtz energy, is a state function that determines the valuable work a system can perform at a constant temperature. It is named after Hermann Ludwing von Helmholtz, who first introduced this energy function in the 1860s.

## The Helmholtz free energy equation is defined as:

A = U – TS

where A represents Helmholtz free energy, U represents the internal energy of the system, T represents the temperature, and S represents entropy. Helmholtz free energy is an essential thermodynamic parameter that plays a crucial role in the relationship between energy and work.

It is also used to describe the maximum amount of work that can be obtained from a thermodynamic system under constant temperature and volume. Why is Helmholtz Free Energy Important?

Helmholtz free energy is a valuable resource for evaluating the feasibility of a reaction or process. Along with enthalpy and entropy, Helmholtz free energy helps to make predictions about the maximum amount of useful work a closed system can perform.

Therefore, it provides deeper insight into the energy exchange between a system and its surroundings. Helmholtz free energy is also essential in determining the direction of spontaneous processes, a crucial factor in determining whether a reaction or process will occur spontaneously or not.

When Helmholtz free energy decreases, it indicates that the reaction or process is spontaneous, and work can be obtained from the system. Conversely, it increases when the reaction is non-spontaneous; therefore, work must be added to the system to make the reaction occur.

## Change of Helmholtz Free Energy

The change in Helmholtz free energy (A) is determined by the reversible and irreversible processes of a thermodynamic system. It is calculated using the following formula:

A = A(final state) – A(initial state)

During reversible processes, Helmholtz free energy remains constant.

Comparatively, during irreversible processes, Helmholtz free energy decreases due to the work done by the system or the flow of heat from the system to the surroundings. The reversible process can be considered ideal, where work is done or heat is transferred without any energy loss, whereas the irreversible process represents the real-world systems, where energy is lost in the process.

Therefore, when a thermodynamic system is in equilibrium, the Helmholtz free energy is at a minimum.

## Gibbs free energy vs Helmholtz free energy

Gibbs free energy is another state function that determines the maximum non-expansion work a system can do during a constant pressure process. Gibbs free energy accounts for differences in enthalpy, entropy, and temperature, which are essential in determining the spontaneity of chemical reactions, as well as selecting the right conditions for explosive reactions.

Many chemical systems are more likely to undergo spontaneous change if the Gibbs free energy is negative. Gibbs free energy is calculated using the following equation:

G = H – TS

Gibbs and Helmholz free energies are both capable of predicting the direction of spontaneous processes.

However, there are key differences between them. Gibbs free energy is used to predict the spontaneity of a reaction regardless of the pressure and temperature, whereas Helmholtz free energy is used to calculate the maximum non-expansion work that can be done during a constant volume process.

In other words, Gibbs free energy is used in the case of a constant pressure process, while Helmholtz free energy is used in a constant volume process. During a constant volume process, the system cannot expand against the atmosphere, whereas in constant pressure processes, the system can.

This simple distinction between the two can help you determine the correct type of energy to use in specific situations.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, Helmholtz free energy and Gibbs free energy are two essential state functions that play an intricate role in thermodynamics. Both of these energy functions help us understand the relationship between internal energy, enthalpy, and entropy, which are key factors in spontaneous chemical reactions or any process that deals with energy transfer.

Understanding these state functions can help you develop a deeper understanding of the energy exchange between a system and its surroundings and provide insight into the feasibility and direction of spontaneous processes. By using the equations and principles outlined in this article, you can better predict the behavior of thermodynamic systems in various contexts.

In summary, Helmholtz free energy and Gibbs free energy are two state functions that help us understand the behavior of thermodynamic systems and the relationship between internal energy, enthalpy, and entropy. Helmholtz free energy is a valuable resource for evaluating the feasibility of a reaction or process, determining the direction of spontaneous processes, and predicting the maximum amount of work a closed system can perform.

Gibbs free energy, on the other hand, accounts for differences in enthalpy, entropy, and temperature, and predicts the spontaneity of a reaction, regardless of the pressure and temperature. Understanding these state functions can help develop a deeper understanding of the energy exchange between a system and its surroundings.

## FAQs:

### 1. What is Helmholtz free energy?

Helmholtz free energy is a state function that determines the valuable work a system can perform at a constant temperature.

### 2. What is Gibbs free energy?

Gibbs free energy is another state function that determines the maximum non-expansion work a system can do during a constant pressure process.

### 3. How do Helmholtz and Gibbs free energy differ?

Gibbs free energy is used to predict the spontaneity of a reaction regardless of the pressure and temperature, whereas Helmholtz free energy is used to calculate the maximum non-expansion work that can be done during a constant volume process.

### 4. How do these state functions help in thermodynamics?

Understanding these state functions can help in evaluating the feasibility of a reaction or process, determining the direction of spontaneous processes, and predicting the maximum amount of work a closed system can perform.