Is cellular respiration spontaneous or not? How can you tell?
Respiration is spontaneous because it releases energy (negative enthalpy) and becomes more disordered (positive entropy).
This comes with the law of physics that things in nature, when left to themselves, will become more disordered and will lose energy. This is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Spontaneous reactions are when a reaction happens naturally, in order to lose energy from a system and become more disordered.
Entropy can also be described as the energy released by a system when something happens.
The purpose of respiration is to release energy from glucose so that a body or organism can do things, like contract muscles and fire neurons. The equation is
The fact that respiration releases energy means that it has a positive entropy (
Because the products,
As you can see, respiration fits the requirements for a spontaneous reaction. It is positive entropy and negative enthalpy.