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Kinetics (4.

3 Rates)
Rate of reaction rate of change of concentration with respect to time
Measuring the rate of a reaction
1. Measuring the volume of gas produced
This method can be used when gas is given off. The rate of the reaction can be
measured by measuring the volume of gas produced at regular time intervals.
The volume can be measured by using a gas syringe or by water displacement of
a measuring cylinder.
2. Measuring the change in mass of a reaction mixture
This method depends on a gas being given off. The decrease in mass of the total
reaction mixture is measured at regular time intervals.
3. Colorimetry
The change in colour of the reaction mixture by using a colorimeter or by simple
observation is used to measure the rate of reaction.
4. Titrimetric analysis
As the reaction is ongoing, aliquots or small portions of the reacting mixture are
taken at regular intervals. They are then quenched by adding another reagent or
putting them in an ice bath in order to stop the reaction at that time interval.
They are then titrated against another substance in order to find out the
concentration of one of the reactants at that time.
5. Conductimetric analysis
This measures the change of electrical conductivity of the reaction mixture at
regular intervals. It can be used when the reactions take place in solution as
there are ions involved. Large, slow ions result in lower conductivity and vice
After data is gathered, a concentration-time graph or volume-time graph is
plotted. The rate of reaction at a given time can be calculated by drawing a
tangent to the point on the graph, and then calculating the gradient of the line.
Initial rate is the rate at the start of the reaction and is measured by drawing a
tangent at t=0 and calculating the gradient of the line.
Order of reaction with respect to a particular reactant the power to
which the reactants concentration is raised in the rate equation, and tells us
how the reactants concentration affects the rate

Overall order of the reaction the sum of all the individual orders of reaction
for all reactants
Rate constant a constant for a particular reaction at a specified temperature
Rate-determining step the slowest step in the reaction that determines the
overall rate of the reaction
Rate equation
For the reaction:
Rate = k[A]m[B]n
Where k is the rate constant, [A] and [B] is the concentration of A and B
respectively, and m and n is the order of reaction with respect to A and B
m + n = overall order of the reaction
In order to determine the rate equation and the orders of reaction, several
experiments are carried out by changing one of the concentrations of the
reactants every time, and seeing how the rate of reaction has changed.
1. Zero order
If the concentration of reactant A is doubled, the rate of reaction remains the
Rate = k[A]0 = k

In the concentration-time graph, the rate can be calculated by determining the

gradient, which is constant as the line is straight which shows that it is a zero
order reactant.
In the rate-concentration graph, the rate is constant which shows that it is a zero
order reactant.
2. First order
If the concentration of reactant A is doubled, the rate of reaction also doubles.
Rate = k[A]1

It is difficult to differentiate between a first order and second order reactant from
the concentration-time graph as they are both curved.
From the rate-concentration graph, we can see that the rate and concentration
are directly proportional together so it is a first order reactant.
3. Second order
If the concentration of reactant A is doubled, the rate of reaction quadruples.
Rate = k[A]2

From the rate-concentration graph, we can see that the line is curved, so the rate
is proportional to some power of the concentration greater than 1.
Half-life the time it takes for half of a reactant to be used up.
Half-life can be used to work out the order of a reaction without having to draw a
rate-concentration graph.
1. Zero order

2. First order

3. Second order

Catalyst a substance that speeds up the rate of reaction by providing an

alternative reaction pathway by lowering the activation energy of the reaction
without being used up
Homogeneous catalyst a catalyst in the same phase as the reactants, e.g.
chlorine radicals in the breakdown of ozone

Heterogeneous catalyst- a catalyst in a different phase from the reactants,

e.g. platinum in catalytic converters

How heterogeneous catalysts work:

1. One or more of the reactants are adsorbed on to the surface of the
catalyst at active sites.
o Adsorption is where something sticks to a surface.
2. There is an interaction between the surface of the catalyst and the
reactant molecules which makes them more reactive.
o This might involve an actual reaction with the surface, or some
weakening of the bonds in the attached molecules.
3. The reaction happens.
4. The product molecules are desorbed