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Calculate and compare Average and Instantaneous reaction rates


2N2O5 (g) → 4NO2 (g) + O2 (g)

Time (s) [O2] (M)

0 0.00
600 0.0021
1200 0.0036
1800 0.0048
2400 0.0056
3000 0.0064
3600 0.0067
4200 0.0071
4800 0.0075
5400 0.0077
6000 0.0078



1. Slope of the secant can be calculated by using the two given sets of points at t = 0 and
t = 4800 to calculate the slope of the line.

Y2 - Y1 (0.0075 - 0) M
Slope = --------- = ---------------------- = 1.56 * 10-6 M / s = 1.6 * 10-6 M / s
X2 - X1 (4800 - 0) s

2. Slope of each tangent can be calculated by using two points around the point at which
you are trying to calculate, for example in order to calculate the tangent at t = 1200s
then the data at t = 600s and t = 1800s will be taken and the average value of that data
will be the instantaneous rate of change at t = 1200s.

Instantaneous rate of change (slope of the line) at t = 1200s calculated by using

data at t = 600s and t = 1800s

Y2 - Y1 (0.0048 - 0.0021) M
Slope = --------- = ---------------------- = 2.25 * 10-6 M / s = 2.2* 10-6 M / s
X2 - X1 (1800 - 600)

Instantaneous rate of change (slope of the line) at t = 4800s calculated by using

data from t = 5400s and t = 4200s

Y2 - Y1 (0.0077 - 0.0071) M
Slope = --------- = ---------------------- = 5 * 10-7 M / s = 5.0 * 10-7 M / s
X2 - X1 (5400 - 4200) s

3. The reason that both of the units are the same is because both of them measure the
same thing: a rate of mols, the unit for which is mols / second. The only difference
between the two is the interval in which each is calculated on (average rate in this lab
is calculated over the interval of t = 0 and t = 4800, while instantaneous is calculated at
a point using the surrounding data), the change in the size of the interval should not
result the units of instantaneous and average rates to be different which is why the
units are the same.

4. The average rate of change can represent the rate over any interval in the given data,
for example it can represent the average rate from start to finish or even start to
halfway, both of these scenarios can be classified as average rate of change. So when
two students determine average rate of change and result in different answers this
means that they calculated over different time intervals.

5. The reason that the instantaneous rate of change at t = 4800s is different from the rate
at t = 1200s is due to the fact that the rate of the graph is not linear. A reason for why
the rate at t = 4800s is so low compared to t = 1200s can be assumed by the prediction
that there are not many reactants left near the end of the reaction at t = 4800s thus the
rate of the reaction is much lower, while at t = 1200s there are plenty of reactants left
and as a result the rate is much higher.

6. Due to the time some reactions take to complete waiting for the reaction to finish can
be a inefficient. In order to speed up the process they measure the rates of reactions at
the beginning when they are the fastest and use that as a tool to estimate the longevity
of the reaction compared to others. An advantage of this process is that it eliminates
the need to wait for the reaction to finish.