Nov

27

In honor of the Chair I am submitting this post: a short explanation of Le Chatelier Principle and the further development of the principle by Paul Samuelson.

Henry-Louis Le Chatelier — born Oct. 8, 1850, Paris, France and died Sept. 17, 1936, Miribel-les-Échelles.

French chemist who is best known for the principle of Le Chatelier, which makes it possible to predict the effect a change of conditions (temperature, pressure, and concentration of reaction components) will have on a chemical reaction.

What is this principle which is so highly recommended, and who is its author? The nature of the principle itself is as easy to grasp as it is difficult to state succinctly, and the man himself is almost totally eclipsed by the popularity of his most famous observation.

Any system in stable chemical equilibrium, subjected to the influence of an external cause which tends to change either its temperature or its condensation (pressure, concentration, number of molecules in unit volume), either as a whole or in some of its parts, can only undergo such internal modifications as would, if produced alone, bring about a change of temperature or of condensation of opposite sign to that resulting from the external cause.[2]

This may prove to be a cumbersome description of the principle so a more simpler version can be postulated.

If the conditions of a system, initially at equilibrium, are changed, the equilibrium will shift in such a direction as to tend to restore the original conditions.[4]

This principle which worked well in explaining how changing variables in a chemical reaction affect the equilibrium was expanded upon by the esteemed eonomist Paul Samuelson.

Paul A. Samuelson (born May 15, 1915, in Gary, Indiana) is an American economist known for his work in many fields of economics. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal in 1947 and Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1970.

His Economics: An Introductory Analysis, first published in 1948, has become the best selling economics textbook of all time. The textbook has sold more than a million copies and has been translated into French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.

Le Chatelier principle as explained by Samuelson, deals with constraints on maximizing behavior, explaining that short-run demands have lower elasticity than those in the long run since a longer time frame allows new factors and prices to change.

Le Chatelier principle has since been used to explain such events as domestic economic issues to market analysis to its efficacy in outlining a Theory of International trade.

I am sure there are many more and the wise speculator would do well to ponder upon them.


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