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I'm working on hydrothermal decomposition of organic matter at high temperature and pressure (400 bar). The reactions are too complex and numerous to model individually, but proceed in a similar fashion at different temperatures. If the reaction proceeds to the same point in 1 minute at 300degC and 1 day at 100degC, is there any way to use this information to estimate the amount of 'energy' required to do the work? I know this is a strange question, but I want to see if the same decomposition is achieved using electrochemical energy in an ion trap. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to compare the systems in terms of energy applied. I am quite sure that the hydrothermal decomposition depends on the force of the bonds being broken, as does the electrochemical decomposition... Am I going down the wrong rabbit hole to calculate the specific energy of the water at this temperature? How would time come into the equation then?

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    $\begingroup$ Does the Arrhenius equation not give you what you need? $\endgroup$ – lemon Sep 14 '16 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Ordinarily it would - I could find an activation energy for the reaction that way... But this is a complex mixture of thousands of reactants and products, making it impossible to find something like a first-order decay constant. What I can track is the time difference to achieve the same amount of overall decay at several temperatures. $\endgroup$ – JHawkes Sep 14 '16 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Using the Arrhenius equation will give you an effective or average activation energy that you can then use to compare with other methods. $\endgroup$ – porphyrin Sep 17 '16 at 10:32

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