• The atom economy
of a reaction is the percentage of atomic mass of useful products in a reaction
. It is calculated by:
• A high atom economy
means that most of what the chemical process makes is useful! In the same way, a low atom economy tells you that a reaction is mostly producing unwanted waste products.
• The atom economy is used to show an efficient reaction that makes lots of valuable chemicals and not much waste product that will require disposal.
• A quick tip – reactions with a single product have a 100% atom economy because the only chemical being produced is the desired product.
• The percentage yield
of a reaction is the mass of products formed as a percentage of how much could have been formed
given the mass of reactants used.
• A low percentage yield
means that not much of the reactants you used has become products. A high percentage yield
therefore means that a lot of the reactant chemicals you used successfully reacted to make the products.
• KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between the two!
Atom economy is about how wasteful the reaction is, and yield is about how much reactant was successfully converted to products!
In this lesson, we will learn:
• To understand
the definitions of atom economy and percentage yield and the difference between them.
• To calculate
atom economy and percentage yield from example chemical reactions.
• To explain
the importance of atom economy as a chemist when planning chemical reactions and processes.