Difference WikiChemistry

Difference Between Reversible Process and Irreversible Process

Main Difference

The main difference between the Reversible Process and Irreversible Process is that the Reversible Process can occur in both directions, whereas the Irreversible occurs only in one direction.

Reversible Process vs. Irreversible Process

A reversible process is the chemical process of thermodynamics that can change its direction, whereas the irreversible process is the chemical process of thermodynamics that cannot change its direction. The reversible process can proceed in both directions on the flip side; the irreversible process can occur only in one direction. A reversible process is used to get the initial state of a chemical reaction; on the other hand, the irreversible process cannot give the initial state of a chemical reaction.

ADVERTISEMENT

A reversible process is a process in which reactants can regain, while the irreversible process is the process in which all the reactants are completely consumed. A reversible process is a chemical reaction that can occur in both forward and backward directions, whereas the irreversible process is the chemical reaction that can occur in an only forward direction.

The reversible reaction always occurs in the closed system, whereas the irreversible process occurs in the open system. A reversible process is a process in which dynamic equilibrium can establish, whereas the irreversible is a process in which no dynamic equilibrium can establish. In the reversible process, there are a lot of changes occur in the system, while in an irreversible process, there are limited changes that occur in the system.

ADVERTISEMENT

A small amount of force is required to start the reversible process, whereas a large amount of force is required to start the irreversible process. In the reversible process, the amount of work done is greater, whereas, in an irreversible process, the amount of work done is less.

Comparison Chart

Reversible ProcessIrreversible Process
A reversible process is a chemical process that can proceed in both forward and reverse directions.An irreversible process is a process that can proceed only in a forward direction.
System
Closed systemOpen system
Driving Force
The small driving force.The large driving force.
Directions
Forward and reverse directionOnly the forward direction
Initial State
The initial state can be obtainedThe initial state never obtained
Completion of Reaction
Never completedSupposed to be completed
Equilibrium
Dynamic equilibrium can establishDynamic equilibrium cannot establish
Work Done
A large amount of work doneLess amount of work done
ADVERTISEMENT

What is the Reversible Process?

A reversible process is the chemical process of thermodynamics that can proceed in forward and reverse direction. The reversible reaction can fluctuate its direction. It is the process in which reactants and products are continuously changing their concentration. It is the process in which reactants are converting into products, and products are changing into reactants side by side.

In the reversible process, a small amount of force is required to start the reaction is composed of many smaller steps. That’s why the amount of work is done greater in this process. The reversible process never completes, and the dynamic equilibrium can establish during the process in which the amount of reactants and products becomes equal.

It is the process in which we can get the initial state of a system or a chemical reaction. There are several deviations occur during the reversible process.

What is Irreversible Process?

An irreversible process is the chemical process of thermodynamics that can proceed only in the forward direction. This process can never change its direction of the procedure. It is the process in which the reactants are completely consumed and converted into products.

In an irreversible process, a large amount of energy is required to start the chemical reaction. It can occur only in one step. That’s why the amount of work done is very small during the process. The irreversible process can suppose to complete the reaction.

It is the process in which it is impossible to establish a dynamic equilibrium, a state in which the amounts of reacts and products become equal. It is the process in which once the reaction is started can never get back to its original stage. There is a very limited deviation that occurs during the whole process.

Key Differences

  1. A reversible process can change its direction in both sides of a reaction, whereas the irreversible process cannot change its direction in both sides of the chemical reaction.
  2. The reversible process can take place from both sides; on the flip side, the irreversible process can take place only from one side.
  3. A reversible process is applied to find the preliminary state of a biochemical reaction; on the other hand, the irreversible process cannot give the preliminary state of a biochemical reaction.
  4. A reversible process can regain its reactants, while the irreversible process can consume all its reactants.
  5. A reversible process can carry on in both forward and backward direction, whereas the irreversible process can carry on in the only forward direction.
  6. The reversible process always happens in a sealed system, whereas the irreversible process happens in an unlocked system.
  7. A reversible process is a chemical process that can establish a chemical equilibrium, whereas the irreversible process cannot establish a chemical equilibrium.
  8. In the reversible process, there are a lot of variations that happen in the system, while an irreversible process, there are restricted variations that happen in the system.
  9. A little force that can drive the reaction is essential to begin the reversible process, whereas a large force that can drive the reaction is essential to begin the irreversible process.
  10. In the reversible process, there is a greater amount of work, whereas, in the irreversible process, there is a little amount of work.

Conclusion

The above discussion concludes that both reversible process and irreversible process are the types of chemical reactions of thermodynamics. A reversible process is a chemical process that can proceed in both forward and reverse direction, whereas the irreversible process is the process that can proceed only in the forward direction.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss