Eh-pH (Pourbaix) diagrams are commonly used in mining and geology for assessment of the stability fields of minerals and dissolved species. Under conditions where a mineral (solid) phase is the most stable form of an element, these diagrams show that mineral. As with results from all thermodynamic (equilibrium) evaluations, these diagrams should be used with caution. Although the formation of a mineral or its dissolution may be predicted to occur under a set of conditions, the process may be negligible because its rate is so slow. Under those circumstances, kinetic evaluations are necessary. However, the equilibrium conditions can be used to evaluate the direction of spontaneous changes and the magnitude of the driving force behind them.
When making a new substance from other substances, chemists say either that they carry out a synthesis or that they synthesize the new material. Reactants are converted to products, and the process is symbolized by a chemical equation . For example, iron (Fe) and sulfur (S) combine to form iron sulfide (FeS). Fe(s) + S(s) → FeS(s) The plus sign indicates that iron reacts with sulfur. The arrow signifies that the reaction “forms” or “yields” iron sulfide, the product. The state of matter of reactants and products is designated with the symbols (s) for solids , (l) for liquids , and (g) for gases .