chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/7696/how-do-i-distinguish-between-internal-energy-and-enthalpy/7700#7700 has a good insight:
To summarize, internal energy and enthalpy are used to estimate the thermodynamic potential of the system. There are other such estimates, like the Gibbs free energy G. Which one you choose is determined by the conditions and how easy it is to determine pressure and volume changes.
Adds up chemical energy and kinetic energy.
Wikipedia mentions however that the kinetic energy is often negligible, even for gases.
The sum is of interest when thinking about reactions because chemical reactions can change the number of molecules involved, and therefore the pressure.
TODO understand more intuitively how that determines if a reaction happens or not.
At least from the formula we see that:
- the more exothermic, the more likely it is to occur
- if the entropy increases, the higher the temperature, the more likely it is to occur
- otherwise, the lower the temperature the more likely it is to occur
A prototypical example of reaction that is exothermic but does not happen at any temperature is combustion.