MCAT Question of the Day Solution! Thermodynamics

November 22, 2013
Patrick Boyle

Our question Thursday was from Thermodynamics in General Chemistry. The question presents you with the combustion reaction of methane and asks you to calculate the energy of a carbon-hydrogen bond.

MCAT Question of the Day Thermodynamics

To begin this problem, you must use Hess’s Law, which says that the heat of reaction is equal to the sum of the heats of formation of the products minus the sum of the heats of formation for the reactants.

Hess Law

The heat of reaction is -802 kJ/mol, and the heats of formation of CO2, H2O, and Oare -393 kJ/mol, -242 kJ/mol, and 0 kJ/mol (the heat of formation of a compound in its elemental state is always 0), respectively. Now you want to solve for the heat of formation for CH4

-802 kJ/mol = -393kJ/mol + 2(-242 kJmol) – x

where x is the heat of formation of methane. Solving for x, we get -75 kJ/mol for the heat of formation of methane. Since there are four equal carbon-hydrogen bonds in methane, the energy of one bond is -75 kJ/mol divided by 4, or about -19 kJ/mol.

Match to answer choice B!


More question to come next week!


Patrick Boyle None entered

About Kaplan Test Prep

We know test prep. We invented it. Through innovative technology and a personalized approach to learning, we’ll equip you with the test insights and advice you need to achieve your personal best. Results, guaranteed*.

*Higher Score Guarantee: Conditions and restrictions apply. For complete guarantee eligibility requirements, visit © 2014 The Med School Pulse. All Rights Reserved

Take Our Score Predictor Quiz for MCAT

How ready are you to go after your medical degree? Kaplan can help.

Here are the fasted growing, top-paying healthcare jobs for medical students.

Find out how you might score on the MCAT in about 15 minutes. You’ll also receive detailed video explanations of each question from a Kaplan expert.