How is dynamic equilibrium symbolized in a chemical equation?

1 Answer
Apr 26, 2014

We symbolize dynamic equilibrium by two parallel arrows on top of each other. One arrow points to the left, and the other points to the right.

At dynamic equilibrium, reactants become products and products become reactants at the same rate.

An example of a reaction in dynamic equilibrium is the dissociation of N₂O₄.

N₂O₄ → 2NO₂

The reverse reaction can also occur.

2NO₂ → N₂O₄

If we start with pure N₂O₄, NO₂ will form. As more NO₂ forms, more of it will revert to N₂O₄.

At some point, the rates of the two reactions will be the same. We have a state of dynamic equilibrium.

We express this state of equilibrium in symbols as

N₂O₄ ⇌ 2NO₂

The sign "⇌" means "are in equilibrium with". It symbolizes the fact that reactions occur in both forward "⇀" and backward "↽" directions.