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What is collision theory?
Collision theory states that for a reaction to occur:

particles must collide

particles must have


sufficient energy

particles must collide with


the correct orientation.

Most collisions do not result in reaction because they do


not meet the second and third criteria.

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Activation energy

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Effect of surface area on collisions
Only the particles on the surface of a solid will collide with
particles of the other reactant.

If the surface area is increased,


more particles will be on the
surface and able to collide with
particles of the other reactant.
This means that there will be
more collisions in total and
therefore more reactive collisions.

Surface area can be increased


by decreasing the size of the increasing
reactant particles. Powders surface
have a very large surface area. area

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Reaction of marble chips with acid
The effect of changing surface area on the rate of reaction
can be explored by reacting marble (calcium carbonate)
chips and an acid such as 2 mol dm-3 hydrochloric acid.

CaCO3(s) + 2HCl(aq) CaCl2(s) + CO2(g) + H2O(l)

The carbon dioxide gas evolved can be collected and its


volume measured over time. The rate at which it is
produced is a measure of the rate of reaction.

By repeating the experiment with marble chips of different


sizes, the effect of surface area on the rate of reaction can
be examined.

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Effect of surface area on rate: graph

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Effect of concentration on rate

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Effect of concentration on rate: graph

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Effect of gas pressure on rate

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Effect of pressure on rate: graph

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Effect of temperature on particles

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Effect of temperature on rate
Increasing the temperature of the reaction mixture increases
the rate of reaction in the following two ways:

1. At higher temperatures, the particles


are moving faster, so collide more
frequently. A higher number of
collisions in total means a higher
number of successful collisions.

2. At higher temperatures, a higher


proportion of the molecules have the
activation energy or more. This means
that a higher proportion of collisions
is successful.

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Effect of temperature on rate: graph

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Collision theory summary

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Rate of reaction summary

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Distribution of particle speeds

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Energy distribution curves

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The effect of changing temperature

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Small temperature changes
The MaxwellBoltzmann distribution shows that for a small
increase in temperature, there is a relatively large increase in
the number of particles with at least the activation energy.

no. of particles
no. particles
A small increase in with Ea almost
temperature doubled
therefore leads to
a large increase in
rate.

energy Ea

The increase in collision frequency is also a factor, but


its effect is small compared to the increase in energy.

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Effect of temperature summary

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Effect of catalysts on rate: graph

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What do catalysts do?

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How do catalysts work?
Catalysts increase the rate of reactions without being
used up during the reaction.
One way in which this occurs is for the catalyst to be
changed during the reaction, then changed back in a
second reaction with one of the reactants or products.
This is an alternative reaction pathway.
An example is the
SO2(g) + O2(g) SO3(g)
oxidation of sulfur dioxide:
This is catalyzed by
SO2(g) + V2O5(s) SO3(g) + V2O4(s)
vanadium(V) oxide:
The catalyst is re-formed
V2O4(s) + O2(g) V2O5(s)
by reacting with oxygen:

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Catalysts and energy distribution curves

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Heterogeneous catalysts
There are two types of catalysts: heterogeneous and
homogeneous.

Heterogeneous catalysts
are in a different phase to
the reactants. The catalyst
is usually a solid and the
reactants are liquids or
gases (e.g. solid catalysts
for gas reactions in catalytic
converters).

Industrial examples of heterogeneous catalysis include


the iron catalyst used in ammonia production and the
ZieglerNatta catalyst used in poly(e)thene production.

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Homogeneous catalysts
Homogeneous
catalysts are in the
same phase as the
reactants. The
catalyst and the
reactants are
usually liquids,
such as the
hardener added to
fibreglass resin.

Another example of homogeneous catalysis is the


destruction of atmospheric ozone catalyzed by chlorine
free radicals. In this reaction the catalyst and reactants
are in the gas phase.

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Advantages of catalysts
Using a catalyst means that a reaction can take place at
the same rate as the uncatalyzed reaction, but at a lower
temperature and/or pressure. This has the following
advantages, which are particularly important in industry:

lower energy demands


therefore less CO2 produced
therefore less environmental impact
and lower production costs.

A non-industrial example is enzyme catalysis


in biological washing powders, allowing
efficient washing at a lower temperature.

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Catalysts: true or false?

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Glossary

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Whats the keyword?

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Multiple-choice quiz

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