# Reaction quotient

## Overview

In chemistry, reaction quotient is a quantitative measure of the extent of reaction, the relative proportion of products and reactants present in the reaction mixture at some instant of time.

For a chemical mixture with certain initial concentrations of reactants and products, it is useful to know if the reaction will shift to the right/in the forward direction (increasing the concentrations of the products) or if it will shift to the left/in the reverse direction (increasing the concentrations of the reactants). Given a general equilibrium expression such as

kA + mB ... $\rightleftharpoons$ nC + pD ...

where A, B, C, and D are chemical species involved in this reaction and k, m, n, and p are the stoichiometric coefficients for the reaction, the reaction quotient, Q, is defined as :

$Q={\frac {\left\{C_{i}\right\}^{n}\left\{D_{i}\right\}^{p}...}{\left\{A_{i}\right\}^{k}\left\{B_{i}\right\}^{m}...}}$ where the { Ai } denotes the instantaneous activity of the species A at a certain moment of time and so on for the other species. The reaction quotient is taken at a particular instant in time, not necessarily the moment when equilibrium is reached. The reaction quotient is directly related to Le Chatelier's Principle. For a reaction at chemical equilibrium, the equilibrium constant, K, may be defined as:

$K={\frac {\left\{C\right\}^{n}\left\{D\right\}^{p}...}{\left\{A\right\}^{k}\left\{B\right\}^{m}...}}$ where {A} is the activity of the species A when the mixture is at equilibrium, etc. By comparing the values of Q and K, one can determine whether the reaction will shift to the right, to the left, or if the concentrations will remain the same (equilibrium).

• If Q < K : The reaction will shift to the right (i.e. in the forward direction, and thus more products will form)
• If Q > K : The reaction will shift to the left (i.e. in the reverse direction, and thus more reactants will form)
• If Q = K : The reaction is at equilibrium

The relationship of reaction quotient Q with the instantaneous derivative of Gibbs energy (ΔG) and standard change of Gibbs energy (ΔGO) is given by

ΔG = ΔGO + RT ln Q 