If you compress air to a large enough pressure do new molecules form that have a large activation energy?

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean molecules with a large activation energy? Chemical reactions have an activation energy, but I'm not familiar with that phrase in regards to molecules. Do you mean a large energy requirement to break the new molecules apart again, like pressing carbon into diamonds? $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jul 23 '15 at 1:09
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe you can help me with the jargon. I mean to say that as the molecules that make up air are forced into each other at greater pressure and begin to gain more kinetic energy, they can break apart and then recombine to form new molecules that can't form at STP because the kinetic energy required to create them is on average not present. $\endgroup$ – Alex Jul 23 '15 at 1:33

The average speed of the molecules depends on the temperature, not the pressure. That drives the energy available from collisions. On average, there is no more energy available at high pressure than at low pressure. At higher pressures, there will be more collisions, so ones at the top end of the energy spectrum become more common (as do all the others). That might help with reactions that just need a bit more energy. You also shift the equilibrium of reactions to the side that has fewer molecules, because driving that direction reduces the pressure.


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