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Le Chatelier's Principle

Le Chatelier's principle says that a system will respond to mitigate the effect of an implied stimulus. Another way of stating this is that perturbing a system will excite internal degrees of freedom that respond to the stimulus--you push on ice, it transforms to a lower volume liquid phase; you increase the pressure in a chemical reaction, it produces more of the reactants that take up less space.

W. Craig Carter 2002-09-05