Sample Essay on Factors Affecting Reaction Rates

Reaction Rates

The procession of chemical reactions is something that one cannot merely guess or try to figure out literally. It is very important that before you begin any process of chemical reaction, you should know the results and agents of those results. There are several factors that affect reaction rates that you should be knowledgeable on when planning to conduct any. Among the most common ones include temperature, concentration, phase and surface area, catalyst among several others.

By increasing the temperature of a system, the average kinetic energy of its constituent particles is also increased. And when this happens, the particles are able to move much faster such that they collide more frequently per unit time. Besides, the particles also possess greater energy in the process of collision. As a result of all these actions, the rate of the reactions is significantly increased as the temperature also rises. It should be noted that in the event that the temperature is decreased, the rate of reaction also falls.

When two reactants are in a similar fluid phase, the particles of the two collide more frequently compared to when they one or both of them are in solid state, or even inside two different fluids that do not mix. If the reactants are uniformly dispersed in one homogenous solution, the number of collisions per unit time depends on temperature and concentration. In case the reaction is heterogeneous, the reactants are in two different phases, and collisions between them can occur only at interfaces between the phases. The rate of reaction of heterogeneous reaction depends on the surface area of the more condensed phase.

A catalyst is a substance that takes part in a chemical reaction and heightens the reaction rate without going throughImage 2 a net chemical change itself. For instance, consider the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in the presence, and absence of different catalysts. Since most catalysts are highly selective, they often determine the product of a reaction by accelerating only one of several possible reactions that could take place. Most of the bulk chemicals produced in industry is formed with catalyzed reactions. Recent estimates show that about 30% of the gross national product of the United States and other developed nations relies on the use of catalysts either directly or indirectly.

With regards to concentration and pressure as factors affecting reaction rates, it should be noted that if either of the factors (concentration and pressure) of a chemical increases, there will be more particles within a given space. Thus, collision of the particles will occur more often. As concentration or pressures rises, the rate of reaction also moves towards the same direction.

The rate of a chemical reaction can also be affected by the nature of the solvent. For example, a sodium acetate solution reacts with methyl iodide in an exchange reaction to give methyl acetate and sodium iodide. The viscosity of the solvent is yet another factor that can also determine the reaction rates. Dissolved particles are able to diffuse much slowly in highly viscous solvents compared to those that are less viscous.

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