Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

4: Kinetics: How Fast Reactions Go

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    • 4.1: The Speed of Reactions
      The rate of a chemical reaction is affected by several parameters. Reactions involving two phases proceed more rapidly when there is greater surface area contact. If temperature or reactant concentration is increased, the rate of a given reaction generally increases as well. A catalyst can increase the rate of a reaction by providing an alternative pathway that causes the activation energy of the reaction to decrease.
    • 4.2: Expressing Reaction Rate
      The rate of a reaction can be expressed either in terms of the decrease in the amount of a reactant or the increase in the amount of a product per unit time. Relations between different rate expressions for a given reaction are derived directly from the stoichiometric coefficients of the equation representing the reaction.
    • 4.3: Rate Laws
      Rate laws provide a mathematical description of how changes in the amount of a substance affect the rate of a chemical reaction. Rate laws are determined experimentally and cannot be predicted by reaction stoichiometry. The order of reaction describes how much a change in the amount of each substance affects the overall rate, and the overall order of a reaction is the sum of the orders for each substance present in the reaction.
    • 4.4: Integrated Rate Laws
      Differential rate laws can be determined by the method of initial rates or other methods. We measure values for the initial rates of a reaction at different concentrations of the reactants. From these measurements, we determine the order of the reaction in each reactant. Integrated rate laws are determined by integration of the corresponding differential rate laws. Rate constants for those rate laws are determined from measurements of concentration at various times during a reaction.
    • 4.5: First Order Reaction Half-Life
    • 4.6: Activation Energy and Rate
      A minimum energy (activation energy,Ea) is required for a collision between molecules to result in a chemical reaction. Plots of potential energy for a system versus the reaction coordinate show an energy barrier that must be overcome for the reaction to occur. The arrangement of atoms at the highest point of this barrier is the activated complex, or transition state, of the reaction. At a given temperature, the higher the Ea, the slower the reaction.
    • 4.7: Reaction Mechanisms
      A balanced chemical reaction does not necessarily reveal either the individual elementary reactions by which a reaction occurs or its rate law. A reaction mechanism is the microscopic path by which reactants are transformed into products. Each step is an elementary reaction. Species that are formed in one step and consumed in another are intermediates. Each elementary reaction can be described in terms of its molecularity. The slowest step in a reaction mechanism is the rate-determining step.
    • 4.8: Catalysis
      Catalysts participate in a chemical reaction and increase its rate. They do not appear in the reaction’s net equation and are not consumed during the reaction. Catalysts allow a reaction to proceed via a pathway that has a lower activation energy than the uncatalyzed reaction. In heterogeneous catalysis, catalysts provide a surface to which reactants bind in a process of adsorption. In homogeneous catalysis, catalysts are in the same phase as the reactants. Enzymes are biological catalysts.

    4: Kinetics: How Fast Reactions Go is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?