Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Unit 1: Chemical Kinetics

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Unit 1 Objectives

    By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

    • Read reaction rate plots
    • Calculate rates of reactions (average and instantaneous)
    • Mathematically describe the dependence of a reaction rate on reactant concentration 
    • Determine rate laws from data
    • Mathematically describe the relationship between time and reactant concentration using integrate rate law
    • Read reaction rate plots (rate vs [reactant) and [reactant] vs time)
    • Describe the relationship between temperature and reaction rate
    • Describe the collision model of reaction mechanisms
    • Identify kinetic parameters on reaction diagrams
    • Define and identify examples of catalysts


    • 1.1: Rate of a Chemical Reaction
      Reaction rates are reported as either the average rate over a period of time or as the instantaneous rate at a single time. Reaction rates can be determined over particular time intervals or at a given point in time.
    • 1.2: The Rate Law- The Effect of Concentration on Reaction Rate
      The rate law for a reaction is a mathematical relationship between the reaction rate and the concentrations of species in solution. Rate laws can be expressed either as a differential rate law, describing the change in reactant or product concentrations as a function of time, or as an integrated rate law, describing the actual concentrations of reactants or products as a function of time. The rate constant and reaction order are extracted directly from the rate law.
    • 1.3: The Integrated Rate Law- The Dependence of Concentration on Time
      The reaction rate of a zeroth-order reaction is independent of the concentration of the reactants. The reaction rate of a first-order reaction is directly proportional to the concentration of one reactant. The reaction rate of a simple second-order reaction is proportional to the square of the concentration of one reactant. Knowing the rate law of a reaction gives clues to the reaction mechanism.
    • 1.4: Half Life Calculations
    • 1.5: The Effect of Temperature on Reaction 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.
    • 1.6: 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.
    • 1.7: 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.



    Unit 1: Chemical Kinetics is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?