Equilibrium Constant Definition

The equilibrium constant is a ratio based on equilibrium concentrations.
The equilibrium constant is a ratio based on equilibrium concentrations. Rafe Swan, Getty Images

The equilibrium constant is the ratio of the equilibrium concentrations of the products raised to the power of their stoichiometric coefficients to the equilibrium concentrations of the reactants raised to the power of their stoichiometric coefficients.
For a reversible reaction:
aA + bB → cC + dD
The equilibrium constant, K, is equal to:
K = [C]c·[D]d/[A]a·[B]b
where
[A] = equilibrium concentration of A
[B] = equilibrium concentration of B
[C] = equilibrium concentration of C
[D] = equilibrium concentration of D

There are several different types of equilibrium constants. These including binding constants, association constants, dissocation constants, stability constants, and formation constants.

Factors that may affect the equilibrium constant include temperature, ionic strength, and choice of solvent.

Source

  • Denbigh, K. (1981). "Chapter 4". The Principles of Chemical Equilibrium (4th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-28150-8.