Reaction rate

The reaction rate for a reactant or product in a particular reaction is defined as the amount (in moles or mass units) per unit time per unit volume that is formed or removed.

Knowledge of these rates is essential in chemical engineering and environmental engineering.

For the reaction

<math>aA + bB \rightarrow\; cC + dD<math>

the definition of the reaction rate <math>v<math> is such that it is independent of the product or reactant that is followed in time


where <math>[A]<math> and <math>[B]<math> represent the concentration of the reactants. This equation is only valid when there is no significant build-up of intermediates and the volume is constant during the reaction. Rate is often expressed in the units mol/Ls. With information of reaction rates a rate law for this reaction can be established.

There are several factors that affect the rate of reaction:

  • Temperature: Conducting a reaction at a higher temperature puts more energy into the system and increases the reaction rate. The influence of temperature is described by the Arrhenius equation, whose result is factored into the equation by k. As a rule of the thumb, the reaction rate doubles for every 10 degrees Celsius increase in temperature.
  • Concentration: As reactant concentration increases, the frequency of collision increases and so therefore does the frequency of collisions having sufficient energy to cause reaction.
  • Pressure: The rate of gaseous reactions usually increases with an increase in pressure. Increase in pressure in fact is equivalent to an increase in concentration of the gas.
  • Light: Light is a form of energy. It may affect the rate or even course of a reaction. For example when methane reacts with chlorine in dark, the reaction rate would be very low. It can be speeded up when the mixture is put under diffused light. In bright sunlight, the reaction is explosive.
  • Order: Clearly the order of the reaction has a major effect on its rate. The order of a reaction is found experimentally, and, for most basic reactions, is an integer value.
  • A catalyst: The presence of a catalyst increases the reaction rate in both the forward and reverse reactions by lowering the activation energy of the reaction.
  • State of sub-division of reactants: The larger the surface area compared to the volume, the faster a reaction can take place, as more simultaneous reactions can occur.
  • The nature of the reactants: If a reaction involves the breaking and reforming of bonds (complex) compared to just the forming of bonds (simple) then it generally takes longer. The reactants position in the reactivity series also affects reaction rate.
  • Surface Area: In a heterogeneous system as the surface area increases the rate of reaction kiirus

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools