Chemistry

CH4 + 2 O2 --> CO2 + 2 H2O + heat

This reaction is exothermic because more energy is released when the products bond than is required to break the bonds of the reactants.
The potential energy of the products (not including the heat) is lower than the reactants, but how can this be the case if the bonds of the products are stronger, meaning they would require more energy to break. Like, if the reaction were flipped, would it not take a large amount of energy to break the bonds? Would that not mean that the potential energy of the products is higher?

It makes sense that products (not including the heat) have less energy than reactants for exothermic reactions because some of that energy is lost to the heat, but wouldn't that also mean that the bonds are weaker too?

Thanks!

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  1. The bonds are of the products are stronger because it takes heat to reverse the reaction to form reactants.

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    DrBob222
  2. Thank you for your response, but I understand that. I do not understand why, however, if the bonds are stronger, that the potential energy is lesser.

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  3. The bonds of the products are lower because the distance between the atoms in the bonds are in a LOWER ENERGY state compared to the reactants. The lower the energy state, the more energy was released to achieve that energy state for that particular bond and thus, the more energy needed to break that bond. Search charge related to intermolecular distance and potential energy concerning bond length to get a more comprehensive answer concerning your question. I hoped this helped.

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  4. Thank you!

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