Kinetics, Chemistry tutorial


Define: The stream of chemistry, which mainly deals with the rate of chemical reactions, the factors influencing the rate of reactions and the method of the reaction is termed as the chemical kinetics.

Chemical kinetics is basically the branch of physical chemistry which is mainly concerned by understanding the rates of chemical reactions. It is to be contrast with thermodynamics, which mainly deals with the direction in which a method takes place however in it states nothing regarding its rate. Thermodynamics is time's arrow, whereas chemical kinetics is time's clock. Chemical kinetics associates to numerous features of geology, cosmology, biology, engineering, and even psychology and therefore consists of far-reaching implications. The main principles of chemical kinetics apply to purely physical processes and also to the chemical reactions.

One of the reasons for the significance of kinetics is that it gives proof for the methods of chemical processes. Moreover, being of intrinsic scientific interest, knowledge of reaction methods is of practical use in deciding what is the most efficient manner of causing a reaction to take place. Most of the commercial methods can occur by alternative reaction paths and knowledge of the mechanisms makes it possible to select reaction conditions that favor one path over the others.

Chemical reaction is, by definition, one in which the chemical substances are converted into other substances that signifies that the chemical bonds are broken and formed in such a way that there are changes in the relative positions of atoms in the molecules. At similar time, there are shifts in the arrangements of the electrons which form the chemical bonds. An illustration of a reaction mechanism should thus deal by the movements and speeds of atoms and electrons. The detailed method via which a chemical process takes place is termed to as the reaction path, or pathway.

The huge amount of work done in chemical kinetics has led to the conclusion that several chemical reactions go in a single step; these are termed as the elementary reactions. Other reactions go in more than one step and are stated to be stepwise, composite and complex. The measurements of rates of chemical reactions over a range of conditions can exhibit whether a reaction proceeds via one or more steps. Whenever a reaction is stepwise, kinetic measurements give proof for the method of the individual elementary steps. Information regarding reaction mechanisms is as well given by some non-kinetic studies, however little can be known concerning a mechanism till its kinetics has been investigated. Even then, a few doubts should for all time remain about a reaction mechanism. The investigation, kinetic or else, can disprove a mechanism however can never establish it with absolute certainty.

Reaction rate:

The rate of a reaction is stated in terms of the rates by which the products are made and the reactants (that is, the reacting substances) are consumed. For chemical systems it is common to deal by the concentrations of substances, which is stated as the amount of substance per unit volume. The rate can then be stated as the concentration of a substance which is consumed or generated in unit time. At times it is more suitable to state rates as numbers of molecules formed or consumed in the unit time.

Rate of a chemical reaction = (Change in concentration/Time taken) of the reactant or a product

Rate of a chemical reaction = mol litre-1/second

Let us consider the given chemical reaction:

2NO (g) + Br2 (g) → 2NOBr (g)

The rate for this reaction can be found out by evaluating the increase in the molar concentration of NOBr at different time intervals.

Let us observe how we can deduce the rate of this reaction. We are familiar that the molar concentration of a substance is deduced by enclosing the formula of the substance in the square bracket.

For illustration, [NOBr] symbolizes the molar concentration of NOBr.

Let us assume that [NOBr]1 is the molar concentration at time t1 and [NOBr]2 is the molar concentration at time t2.

Hence, the change in molar concentration = [NOBr]2 - [NOBr]1 = Δ[NOBr]

The time needed for the change = t2 - t1 = Δt

Here, Δ signifies change in the particular quantity.

Thus, the rate of formation of NOBr = Δ[NOBr]/Δt

This expression provides the rate of reaction in terms of NOBr.

Whenever the decrease in the molar concentration of NO or Br2 is evaluated we can represent the rate of the reaction with respect to NO as:

= -Δ[NO]/Δt

And with respect to Br2 as = -Δ[Br2]/Δt

Therefore, the rate of a reaction can be deduced either in terms of the reactants or products. We find in the reaction illustrated above that the two moles of NO react by one mole of Br2. Thus, the change in concentration of NO in a particular time Δt will be twice than that for Br2. Therefore, in order to make the rates with respect to different reactants or products equivalent, the rate expression is divided by the stoichiometric coefficient in the balanced chemical equation.

For illustration, in the equation,

2NO (g) + Br2 (g) → 2NOBr (g)

The rate of reaction with respect to the reactants and products is deduced as:

Rate of reaction = + (1/2) Δ[NOBr]/Δt = -(1/2)Δ[NOBr]/Δt = -Δ[NOBr]/Δt

Average Rate and Instantaneous Rate:

The rate of a reaction mainly based on the concentration of reactants. As the reaction carries on, the reactants get consumed and their concentration decreases with time. Thus, the rate of reaction doesn't remain constant throughout the complete reaction.

The rate of a reaction provided as (Δ[concentration]/Δt) provides an average rate.

For illustration, Δ[NOBr]/Δt provides the average rate of reaction. Instantaneous rate of a reaction is the rate of reaction at any specific instant of time, we deduce instantaneous rate via making Δt very small Φ,

limΔt→0 [NOBr]/Δt = d[NOBr]/dt

If concentration of any of the reactants or products is plotted against the time, then the graph obtained is as represented below:

1587_Average Rate and Instantaneous Rate.jpg

Fig: Average Rate and Instantaneous Rate

For the reaction,

2N2O5 (g) → 2NO2 (g) + O2 (g)

Average rate of reaction,

 = - (1/2) Δ[N2O5]/Δt = 1/2 Δ[NO2]/Δt = Δ[O2]/Δt

And instantaneous rate = - (1/2) d[N2O5]/dt = (1/2) d[NO2]/dt = d[O2]/dt

Factors influencing the reaction rate:

The factors which influence the rates of reaction of chemical reactions comprise the concentration of reactants, temperature, the physical state of reactants and their dispersion, the solvent and the presence of a catalyst.

1) Concentration Effects:

The two substances can't possibly react by one other unless their constituent particles (that is, molecules, atoms or ions) come into contact. If there is no contact, then the reaction rate will be zero. On the contrary, the more reactant particles which collide per unit time, the more frequently a reaction between them can take place. As a result, the reaction rate generally increases as the concentration of the reactants rises.

2) Temperature Effects:

Increasing the temperature of a system raises the average kinetic energy of its constituent particles. As the average kinetic energy increases, the particles move faster and collide more often per unit time and possess greater energy whenever they collide. Both of such factors increase the reaction rate. Therefore, the reaction rate of virtually all reactions increases by increasing temperature. On contrary, the reaction rate of virtually all reactions reduces with decreasing temperature. For illustration, refrigeration retards the rate of growth of bacteria in foods via decreasing the reaction rates of biochemical reactions which allow bacteria to reproduce.

In systems, where more than one reaction is possible, the similar reactants can produce various products under various reaction conditions. For illustration, in the presence of dilute sulphuric acid and at temperatures approximately 100°C, ethanol is transformed to diethyl ether:


At 180°C, though, a completely different reaction takes place that produces ethylene as the main product:

CH3CH2OH + H2SO4 → C2H4 + H2O

3) Phase and Surface Area Effects:

Whenever two reactants are in the similar fluid phase, their particles collide more often than whenever one or both reactants are solids (or whenever they are in dissimilar fluids that don't mix). If the reactants are uniformly dispersed in the single homogeneous solution, then the number of collisions per unit time based on concentration and temperature. If the reaction is heterogeneous, though, the reactants are in two different phases, and collisions between the reactants can take place merely at interfaces between phases. The number of collisions between the reactants per unit time is substantially decreased relative to the homogeneous case, and, therefore, thus is the reaction rate. The reaction rate of a heterogeneous reaction based on the surface area of the more condensed phase.

Automobile engines utilize surface area effects to increase reaction rates. Gasoline is injected to each cylinder, where it combusts on ignition via a spark from the spark plug. The gasoline is injected in the form of microscopic droplets as in that form it consists of a much larger surface area and can burn much more fast than if it were fed to the cylinder as a stream. Likewise, a pile of finely divided flour burns slowly (or not at all), however spraying finely divided flour to a flame makes a vigorous reaction.

4) Solvent Effects:

The nature of the solvent can as well influence the reaction rates of solute particles. For illustration, a sodium acetate solution reacts by methyl iodide in an exchange reaction to provide methyl acetate and sodium iodide.

CH3CO2Na (soln) + CH3I (l) → CH3CO2CH3 (soln) + NaI (soln)

This reaction takes place 10 million times more quickly in the organic solvent dimethylformamide [DMF; (CH3)2NCHO] than it does in methanol (CH3OH). However both are organic solvents having similar dielectric constants (36.7 for DMF versus 32.6 for methanol), methanol is capable to hydrogen bond by acetate ions, while DMF can't. Hydrogen bonding decreases the reactivity of the oxygen atoms in the acetate ion.

Solvent viscosity is as well significant in finding out the reaction rates. In highly viscous solvents, dissolved particles diffuse much more slowly than in less viscous solvents and can collide less often per unit time. Therefore the reaction rates of most reactions reduce rapidly with increasing solvent viscosity.

5) Catalyst Effects:

A catalyst is a substance which participates in a chemical reaction and increases the reaction rate devoid of undergoing a total chemical change itself. Consider, for illustration, the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in the presence and absence of various catalysts. As most of the catalysts are highly selective, they often find out the product of a reaction via accelerating only one of several possible reactions which could take place.

Most of the bulk chemicals generated in industry are formed by catalyzed reactions. Recent estimates point out that around 30% of the gross national product of the United States and other industrialized nations rely either directly or indirectly on the make use of catalysts.

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