Chemistry (C3) - Rates of Chemical Reactions

This set is for C3 Chemistry, GCSE, AQA, specifically, Rates of Chemical Reactions. This topic has 5 sub-topics which are:

Reaction Rates          The Effect of the Temperature          Opportunities for Interaction         Opportunities for Interaction         Where Reactions Happen          Catylists

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Reaction Rates

The rate of reaction is important in the industry because if a reaction is:

Too slow, the process becomes inefficients and raises the production costs.

Too fast, the reaction may get out of control and might explode.

The rate of reaction can be measured using this equation:

rate of reaction = amount of reactant or amount of product formed / time

There are four factors that can affect the rate of reaction:#


Concentration / pressure

Surface Area


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The Effect of Temperature

For two particles to react, they need to collide wiith eachother with enough speed to bond. This is the collision theory. The minimum energy required is called the activation energy.

The activation energy can be more easily reached by increasing the temperature. This is because it gives the particles more kinetic energy making them go faster.

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Opportunities for Interaction

The concerntration or the pressure can also affect the rate of reaction.

If the concerntration is increased then that means there will be more reactant particles to collide with one another. 

If the pressure is increased there is less space for the particles to travel therefore that will increase the probability that the particles will collide with one another.

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Where Reactions Happen

The surface area can also have an effect on the rate of reaction.

If the surface area if larger, it provides a bigger target for other targets to hit.

This then increases the probability that they will collide and bond.

This is also why a substance in powder form is better for increasing the rate of reaction than using blocks.

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Catylists are the final way of increasing the rate of reaction.

Catylists work by lowering the activation energy needed for the particles to bond when they collide by providing a different route.

This different route however requires the surface area of the catylist so a powdered catylist is the optimum state. 

Transition metals or their oxides are usually used as catylists but have specific jobs:

Nickel: Turning oils into fats

Iron: Producing ammonia

Platinium + Rhodium: Producing nitric acid

Vanadium Oxide: Producing sulphuric acid

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