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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the effects of chemical nature, physical state, temperature, concentration, and catalysis on reaction rates

The rates at which reactants are consumed and products are formed during chemical reactions vary greatly. We can identify five factors that affect the rates of chemical reactions: the chemical nature of the reacting substances, the state of subdivision (one large lump versus many small particles) of the reactants, the temperature of the reactants, the concentration of the reactants, and the presence of a catalyst.

The chemical nature of the reacting substances

The rate of a reaction depends on the nature of the participating substances. Reactions that appear similar may have different rates under the same conditions, depending on the identity of the reactants. For example, when small pieces of the metals iron and sodium are exposed to air, the sodium reacts completely with air overnight, whereas the iron is barely affected. The active metals calcium and sodium both react with water to form hydrogen gas and a base. Yet calcium reacts at a moderate rate, whereas sodium reacts so rapidly that the reaction is almost explosive.

The state of subdivision of the reactants

Except for substances in the gaseous state or in solution, reactions occur at the boundary, or interface, between two phases. Hence, the rate of a reaction between two phases depends to a great extent on the surface contact between them. A finely divided solid has more surface area available for reaction than does one large piece of the same substance. Thus a liquid will react more rapidly with a finely divided solid than with a large piece of the same solid. For example, large pieces of iron react slowly with acids; finely divided iron reacts much more rapidly ( [link] ). Large pieces of wood smolder, smaller pieces burn rapidly, and saw dust burns explosively.

This figure shows two photos labeled (a) and (b). Photo (a) shows the bottom of a test tube. The test tube is filled with a dark gas, and there is a dark substance and bubbles in the bottom. Photo (b) shows a rod and bubbles in a test tube similar to photo (a), but the gas in the test tube is not as dark.
(a) Iron powder reacts rapidly with dilute hydrochloric acid and produces bubbles of hydrogen gas because the powder has a large total surface area: 2Fe( s ) + 6HCl( aq ) 2FeCl3( aq ) + 3H2( g ). (b) An iron nail reacts more slowly.

Temperature of the reactants

Chemical reactions typically occur faster at higher temperatures. Food can spoil quickly when left on the kitchen counter. However, the lower temperature inside of a refrigerator slows that process so that the same food remains fresh for days. We use a burner or a hot plate in the laboratory to increase the speed of reactions that proceed slowly at ordinary temperatures. In many cases, an increase in temperature of only 10 °C will approximately double the rate of a reaction in a homogeneous system.

Concentrations of the reactants

The rates of many reactions depend on the concentrations of the reactants. Rates usually increase when the concentration of one or more of the reactants increases. For example, calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ) deteriorates as a result of its reaction with the pollutant sulfur dioxide. The rate of this reaction depends on the amount of sulfur dioxide in the air ( [link] ). An acidic oxide, sulfur dioxide combines with water vapor in the air to produce sulfurous acid in the following reaction:

Questions & Answers

who are the alchemist?
Victor Reply
alchemy science of transmutation. typically it is aim at tranforming lead to or other base metals to gold and the creation of the philosophers stone which in reality isn't a stone it's something priceless something we all need for coming times. don't be fooled
Kendrick
read Corinthians 5 verses 50 to the end of the chapter then read revelations chapter 2 verse 17
Kendrick
The word "Alchemy" comes from the forgotten name for Ancient Egypt, Khemmet. Khem was the name for the Egyptian Empire, but the actual land of Egypt was called Khemmet because the "T" on the end of a word denoted a physical location on Earth and not just an idea.
Michael
Wow!
mendie
What's the mass number of carbon
Charlie Reply
first Faraday's law
Akinbola
mass number of carbon is 12.
Nnenna
wat d atomic number of oxygen
safiya
atomic number of oxygen is 8
Nnenna
which quantum number divides shell into orbitals?
Tomiwa Reply
azimuthal
Emmanuel
hi
Charlie
azimuthal
reinhard
azimuthal
Charlie
what is atom
Desmond Reply
an atom is a smallest indivisible part of an element
Henry
an atom is the smallest part of an element that takes part in a chemical reaction
Nana
wat is neutralization
Dubem Reply
when any acid reacts with base to decrease it's acidity or vice-versa to form salt and solvent.. which is called neutralization
Santosh
explain buffer
Organic
buffer is a solution which resists changes in pH when acid or alkali added to it..
Santosh
hello, who is online
UTHMAN
buffer is the solution which resist the change in pH by addition of small amount of acid or alkali to it
KAUSIK
neutralisation is the process of mixing of a acid and a base to form water and corresponding salt
KAUSIK
how to solve equation on this
Princewill Reply
what are the elent of ionic and covalent bonding
Princewill
what is gases
Wesike Reply
Its one of the fundamental sate of matter alone side with liquid, solid and plasma
John
What is chemical bonding
John
To my own definitions. It's a unit of measurement to express the amount of a chemical substance.
Ozoaniehe Reply
What is mole
TAMIL Reply
It's the unit of measurements used to express the amount of chemical substance.
Ozoaniehe
What is pressure
Stellamaris Reply
force over area
Jake
force applied per unit area
john
force applied per unit area
Prajapati
Why does carbonic acid don't react with metals
Aditya Reply
Why does carbonic acid don't react with metal
Aditya
Some metals will react depending on their Standard Electrode Potential. Carbonic acid is a very weak acid (i.e. a low hydrogen ion concentration) so the rate of reaction is very low.
Paul
sample of carbon-12 has a mass of 6.00g. How many atoms of carbon-12 are in the sample
Emokiniovo Reply
a sample of carbon-12 has a mass of 6.00g. How many atoms of carbon-12 are in the sample
Sharmin Reply
an object of weight 10N immersed in a liquid displaces a quantity of d liquid.if d liquid displaced weights 6N.determine d up thrust of the object
ugonna Reply
how human discover earth is not flat
Jason Reply
We don't fall off. If set off in any direction in a straight line and keep going. You'll end up back where you started.
Adelle
earth is spherical
Unique
Also, every other planet is spherical as that is the most energy efficient shape. gravity pulls equally on all areas. Sphere.
Adelle
Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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