Chemical energy is potential energy found in the bonds that make up chemical compounds. This energy is dependent on the bonding between the components of a chemical compound, which can release energy in the form of heat when they react.
This type of energy is defined in science as a compound’s ability to break or establish bonds at the atomic level, causing a heat change surrounding it via an exothermic or endothermic process. Chemical energy is defined as any reaction that results in changing one chemical substance into another. Thus, the breakdown of organic matter or the combustion of fossil fuels is a straightforward example of how chemical energy works.
Chemical energy is essential to how life operates at the cellular level. It allows all of these activities to take place, from photosynthesis in plants to the energy that allows animals to conduct muscular labor.
Examples of Chemical Energy with Pictures
As previously said, there are several instances of chemical energy of various sizes worldwide.
As a result, we will go through some essential ones:
Photosynthesis is one method through which plants generate chemical energy for living.
This process converts solar energy into chemical energy.
The energy is stored in carbon bonds, which plant cells may subsequently employ to carry out all of their critical operations.
Cellular respiration is the mechanism through which the bodies of many living organisms, including humans, break the bonds of glucose molecules.
Breaking these bonds releases chemical energy, which the body utilizes to build ATP molecules and, as a result, useable energy for the body’s essential processes.
Fuels derived from fossils
Oil-derived fossil fuels may be burnt to provide energy in the form of heat or light.
In reality, refining plants use this process to convert petroleum chemical compounds into other petroleum-derived chemicals. Diesel, gasoline, and other fuels are examples of this.
When a battery is linked to a circuit, a chemical reaction occurs between the compounds contained within the battery.
As a result, the chemical energy contained within the battery is turned into electrical energy, which can be used to power up the vehicle.
Organic matter decomposition
When a live organism dies, the organic substance in its body begins to decompose.
During this process, bacteria and tiny organisms in the environment begin to utilize the energy stored in chemical bonds.
Food consumed by living creatures is decomposed, separating it into smaller components that store chemical energy.
Cells then employ these substances to absorb their chemical energy and utilize it for various functions.
Some plants and animals, such as fireflies, may generate light with their bodies.
This is known as bioluminescence, and it occurs as a result of the conversion of stored chemical energy into light energy.
How is Chemical Energy created?
When a molecule of matter undergoes a molecular transition, chemical energy is created. When this occurs, chemical energy is released as heat, light, or another type of energy.
Furthermore, because of the law of conservation of energy, when a material releases its chemical energy, it tends to generate another type of substance due to the reaction. This is the case with organic matter breakdown of petroleum and hydrocarbons generated from it.
How does it work?
Chemical energy is a kind of potential energy. Thanks to studies conducted over the previous two centuries, we already know how chemical energy works and its features. Although chemical energy is inside practically everything, science has only lately begun to grasp and utilize it.
Before it is released in a chemical reaction, chemical energy is held in matter or molecules as potential energy.
- Chemical reactions: Chemical reactions in matter result in the breakdown of chemical bonds in its molecules. When this happens, matter absorbs or releases energy at the atomic level, re-establishing its chemical balance.
- Energy release: When chemical energy is released due to chemical bond dissociation, it manifests as different energies such as electrical energy, light energy, thermal energy, and others.
- Exothermic reactions: When a chemical process produces heat, the chemical energy produced is considered the outcome of an exothermic reaction.
- Endothermic reactions: In contrast to the preceding scenario, an endothermic reaction occurs when a chemical activity causes matter to absorb heat from the outside.
Uses of Chemical Energy
Chemical energy has several applications since both man and nature utilize the energy inherent in the matter for various reasons.
Some of the more important ones are listed below:
- Refinery of petroleum. The heat emitted from the chemical energy consumed by fossil fuels is utilized to power the power plant in traditional power generation.
- Chemical energy is used by automobiles, boats, aircraft, and many other modes of transportation that utilize combustion engines.
- The human body requires chemical energy from food to carry out its essential operations at the molecular level.
- Nuclear power plants generate electricity by using the chemical energy created by nuclear fission.
- Chemical energy held in oil is released during the manufacturing of petroleum derivatives to make additional derivatives for industrial and everyday usage such as gasoline, diesel, some types of polymers, and others.
- Some firms manufacture fast foods in special wrappers that can be heated merely by shaking or deforming the container. This is due to the containers’ unique features, which create exothermic reactions that heat the food.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Chemical energy has several pros and disadvantages, which are listed below:
- It is a plentiful sort of energy since petroleum and organic materials found in nature are a source of chemical energy that humans may utilize.
- It enables the acquisition of various types of energy, such as light, heat, mechanical, and electrical energy, making it both adaptable and beneficial to society.
- Chemical energy has a high yield because just a tiny amount of matter is required to use the energy contained in its molecules.
- Because chemical reactions change matter, it allows for new chemicals and valuable materials.
- The abundance globally, makes it a inexpensive and straightforward type of energy to utilize.
- It makes the production of ecologically beneficial biofuels from waste materials possible.
- It enables the employment of transportation powered by combustion engines, one of humanity’s most significant innovations.
- Chemical energy is readily stored since potential energy is present at the molecular level in practically any molecule or object.
- One of the primary issues with using fossil fuels to generate chemical energy is the detrimental impact on the environment.
- Toxic compounds are released into the environment during this chemical reaction, which is hazardous to nature and life in general.
- In many nations, methods of creating ecologically acceptable biofuels are too expensive. This is because they are manufactured using very recent technology.
- The production of electricity in traditional power plants necessitates ongoing economic investment since their functioning is dependent on the availability of fossil fuels and the upkeep of infrastructure and equipment.
- Because chemical energy is not renewable, its usage necessitates the consumption of stuff that cannot be restored.
- Nuclear power stations generate radioactive waste, which may significantly influence the environment if not handled properly.
Mathematical Formula of Chemical Energy
There is no single mathematical formula of chemical energy.
This type of energy has multiple equations: