Chemical Energy Examples

Chemical Energy
Chemical energy is one of the many forms of energy that exist in the universe around us. Chemical energy can be released of absorbed during a chemical reaction. In order for a chemical reaction to occur, a substance or substances must change into new substances with different properties. When this occurs, chemical energy can released, an exothermic reaction or chemical energy can be absorbed, an endothermic reaction. When a reaction is exothermic, heat is released or you feel warmth, if it is endothermic, the heat is absorbed and we feel the substances cool down. The chemical energy involved in these reactions is contained within the chemical bonds between the atoms that make up compounds. You can think of the chemical bonds as energy capsules. If the bonds are broken, the energy that was stored in the capsule is released. If new chemical bonds are formed, then energy from the surroundings is packaged into these bonds, the capsules, and the temperature of the surroundings decreases. During these chemical reactions in which chemical energy is released or absorbed, the structure of an atom never changes, only the bonds between atoms are broken and re-made into new substances. If no chemical reaction takes place, then there is no chemical energy given off or taken in.
Examples of Chemical Energy:

1. Cold packs used in sports are examples of chemical energy. When the inner pouch is broken which is filled with water it reacts with the ammonium nitrate granules and makes new chemical bonds during the reaction absorbing energy from the surroundings. As a result of chemical energy being stored in new bonds, the temperature of the cold pack decreases.

2. When propane gas is burned for cooking on a grill, the chemical energy stored in the bonds of propane molecules are broken and heat is released for cooking.

3. During the photosynthesis, the energy from sunlight is converted into chemical energy which is stored in the bonds of carbohydrates, the food plants make. Later, the plants can utilize the energy stored in the bonds of the carbohydrate molecules for growth and repair.

4. During cellular respiration, our bodies take glucose molecules and breaks the bonds holding the molecules together. When these bonds are broken, the chemical energy stored in these bonds are released and used to make ATP molecules, a form of useable energy for us.

5. Around a campfire, the wood burns. As the wood burns, the chemical energy stored in the bonds of the molecules in the wood release heat and light.

6. In a chemical reaction in a lab, aluminum foil is added to hydrochloric acid solution. The test tube gets very warm because during the reaction, many chemical bonds are broken releasing chemical energy causing the temperature of the solution to rise.

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