Reaction Mechanisms

  • A chemical equation does not tell us how reactants become products

           ○ Simply a summary of the overall process

  • Elementary steps: series of steps by which a chemical reaction occurs

          ○ Cancel out identical species on opposite sides of the arrows in elementary steps to find overall balanced reaction

          ○ Elementary reactions involving the simultaneous collision of three or more particles are rare

               ■ Bcuz is unlikely that the collision will have sufficient energy and orientation for reaction to occur

  • Molecularity: refers to the number of moles that are reacting
  • Intermediate: something that is a product first in one elementary step and becomes a reactant in another

          ○ The concentration of an intermediate stays low during the whole reaction

  • Catalyst: something that is a reactant first in one elementary step and becomes a product in another

          ○ The concentration of a catalyst stays constant during the whole reaction

  • The rate law for the slow rate determining step is the rate law for the entire overall balanced reaction

          ○ As long as the slow step is the first elementary step!