# Unit 5 – Equilibria, Energetics and Elements

Module 1: Rates, Equilibrium and pH
How fast? Reaction profiles A balanced chemical equation gives important information about the exact amounts of substances required for a chemical reaction. However, it gives no indication of how efficient the reaction is, and no detail of how the products are formed. For example, the nucleophilic substitution of a halogenoalkane can be summarises by the equation: OH- + C4H9Cl → C4H9OH + ClThe reaction, however, proceeds by a specific mechanism. Although some reactions do occur simply by collision of the reactant particles, many involve a number of steps before the products are generated. This means that the energy profile of a reaction shown on the left is really a simplification of a profile that might look like the one on the right.

The figure on the right represents a reaction that has two steps, each with its own activation energy. Step 2 would almost certainly be instantaneous because the energy released as Step 1 took place would be sufficient to allow conversion to the final products. Step 1 might be difficult to achieve because its activation energy is so large. Therefore, it is the step that effectively controls the overall rate of the reaction because the time taken for it to occur will be much greater than that for the other step. The rate-determining step Although it might be supposed that a reaction could proceed via several slow steps, in practice it is found that in almost all cases just one step controls the overall rate. This step is called the rate-determining step. It is important to appreciate that: The number of particles involved in the rate-determining step are not necessarily related to the balanced equation – quite often they are different All the reactants are not necessarily involved in the rate-determining step

which occurs rapidly. The equation for the reaction is: I2 + H+ + CH3COCH3 → CH3COCH2 + H+ + IThe equation is usually written as: I2 + CH3COCH3 → CH3COCH2I + HI (presence of H+ ions) H+ + CH3COCH3 → CH3C(OH)=CH2 + H+ This reaction occurs slowly because a C-H bond must be broken. In the reaction between propanone and iodine. when catalysed by hydrogen ions. contrary to what is normally assumed. CH3COCH2I. CH3COCH3. and iodine. doubling the concentration of iodine has no effect. it is zero order with respect to iodine. one molecule of propanone reacts with one hydrogen ion in the rate-determining step. An examoke is the breakdown of nitrogen (IV) oxide into nitrogen (II) oxide and oxygen: 2NO2 → 2NO + O2 The reaction is second order with respect to nitrogen (IV) oxide. catalysed by hydrogen ions. increasing the concentration of a reagent does not always result in an increase in the rate of reaction. A subsequent step is the electrophilic addition of an iodine atom. increasing the concentration of that reagent increases the rate proportionately. From experimental data. The reaction is said to be first order with respect to that reagent. the reaction is first order with respect to both propanone and hydrogen ions. the reaction between propanone.The second point is significant because. the reaction is second order with respect to that reagent. Iodine reacts only in a subsequent fast step. In this case. For example. Orders of reaction Where one particle of a reagent is involved in the rate-determining step. the reaction is said to be zero order with respect to that reagent. Doubling the concentration of this reagent causes the rate to increase four-fold. Therefore. increasing the concentration of acid or propanone results in a faster reaction whereas changing the concentration of iodine does not. which is difficulty. Therefore. Doubling the concentration of propanone or hydrogen ions doubles the rate of the reaction. When increasing the concentration of a reagent does not affect the rate. There are some reactions in which two particles of a reagent are involved in the rate-determining step. . it is worth emphasising that it is not possible to judge the order of a reaction from the equation. hydrogen ions and iodide ions as products. it is found that the rate-determining step involves only propanone and hydrogen ions. form iodopropane. However.

The breakdown of nitrogen (V) oxide into nitrogen (IV) oxide and oxygen 2N2o5 → 4NO2 + O2 is first order with respect to the nitrogen (V) oxide. .

the value of k increases and the reaction proceeds more quickly. this is a + b + c + … The reaction of iodine. It is temperature dependent – for a fast reaction. b and c are the orders of the reaction with respect to the reagents. This is because the orders reflect the numbers of particles involved in the rate- . There is a rule of thumb which states that a temperature rise of 10°C doubles the rate of reaction. A. therefore an overall order of 2. This is the sum of the individual orders with respect to the reagents. k is small. The rate constant. hydrogen ions and propanone has. In most circumstances. B and C takes the form: Rate = k[A]a[B]b[C]c where the square brackets represent the concentrations of the reagents (in molar units such as mol dm-3). Ina general case. Its value varies from reaction to reaction and reflects the ease with which the reaction takes place. the rate of reaction is controlled more by the value of the rate constant than by the concentrations of the reagents. The rate equation for the reaction of iodine and propanone in the presence of hydrogen ions is: Rate = [(CH3)2CO]1[H+]1[I2]0 This is the same as: Rate = [CH3COCH3]1[H+]1 The overall order of a reaction is sometimes mentioned. k. and a. More collisions between the reagents involved in the rate-determinign step have sufficient energy to overcome the activation energy barrier.The rate equation and the rate constant The rate equation for a reaction between three reagnets. The rate equation for the breakdown of nitrogen (IV) oxide into nitrogen (II) oxide and oxygen is: Rate = k[NO2]2 The rate equation for the breakdown of nitrogen (V) oxide into nitrogen (IV0 oxide and oxygen is: Rate = k[N2O5]1 The orders of reaction are nearly always whole numbers and are usually 0. is a constant of proportionality. As the temperature rises. and for a slow reaction. 1 or 2. the value of k is large. If the reaction is extremely slow this might not be apparent but in most instances the effect of heating is obvious.

acidity or density. this may be quite difficult. For example.e. the units are: mol dm-3 ÷ s = 1/s x mol dm-3 Rate = k[A] If the overall reaction is second order. the rate equation is: Rate = k[A]1 If the rate is measured in mol dm-3 s-1 and [A] is in mol dm-3. but these units are required so that the units on the right-hand side of the equation match those on the left. ensure that the units on the left-hand side of the equation are the same as those on the right-hand side. the rate at which it is produced could be measured. If a reaction is first order overall. The units of the rate constant The rate of a reaction is usually followed by observing either a reduction in one of the reactants or the formation of one of the products. The important thing to remember is that the units of the rate contant. if there is a change in a property such as colour. In the example above. the unit of k is s-1. the units of the rate constant. The units are mod m-3 s-1 or mmol dm-1min-1 (mmole stands for millimole. are expressed as [conc]1-n[time]-1 where n is the overall order of the reaction. i. Similarly. k. It is possible to have non-integer numbers. In general. mol dm-3 ÷ s = mol dm-3 s-1 x mol dm-3 x mol dm-3 rate = k[A][B] in this example. as in rate = k[A]1[B]1 the units of k are different in order to keep the units consistent. k. The rate of a reaction is usually expressed as a change in concentration over a period of time. by there are experiments that allow suitable measurements to be made. Determining orders of reaction . if a gas is released. k. it could be monitored. The units of the rate constant. but this only occurs in the rare case of a reaction having more than one rate-determining step. k has the units: mol-1 dm+3 s-1 it looks strange.determining step. In practice. depend on the orders of reaction. one-thousandth of a mole) and so on.

the amount of a reactant or product is established at various time intervals throughout the course of the reaction. The initial rates method A typical reaction can be represented graphically as shown below: The reaction proceeds quickly at the start and slows down towards the finish. This type of experiment is called the ‘initial rates’ method. The numerical values of their gradients show how much the reactions has slowed down from the initial rate (the gradient at the start of the reaction0 to a point about halfway through the reaction. which indicates that the reaction is complete. The start of the reaction is chosen because this is the only point in the reaction at which the concentrations of the reactants are definitely known. This is be achieved by drawing a tangent to the curve.There are two distinct methods that can be used to determine the order with respect to a reactant: In one method. In the graph below. The rate of the reaction is fastest where the curve is steepest and the slope then decreases until the curve becomes horizontal. tangents have been drawn at two points on the graph. . The second method involves monitoring the reaction throughout its course. To provide a numerical value for the rate. the steepness of the curve is established by finding its gradient. - It is important to appreciate that the treatment of the results obtained is different for the two methods. the concentration of each reactant is altered in turn to see what effect the change has on the rate at the start of the reaction. In this procedure.

01 0. If the experiment is repeated with the concentration of one of the reactants doubled.02 0. at time t = 0 seconds. If the concentrations of the reagents are known at the start of the reaction.4 moldm-3s-1 The rate after 60 seconds is 0. a new initial rate is established.03 Initial rate/mol dm-3 s-1 0.006 moldm-3s-1 These figures show that the rate has slowed considerably as the reaction has progressed.02 0. . Therefore. it is possible to see the effect of this reactant on the overall rate.01 0. is about 1.022 0. Experiment 1 2 3 4 [NO]/mol dm-3 0.2/30 = 0. a measurement of the initial gradient (t=0) gives a numerical value of the rate at these concentrations.011 0. It is found that the gradient has doubled.297 a) Use the results of experiments 1-3 to determine the order of reaction with respect to: (i) (ii) Bromine Nitrogen (II) oxide a) Write the rate equation for the reaction.0.7/120 = 0. then the reaction is first order with respect to that reactant.01 0.044 0.01 0. Worked example Nitrogen (II) oxide and bromine react together as in the following equation: 2NO(g) + Br2(g) → 2NOBr(g) Some data for the initial rates of reaction are shown in the table.03 [Br2]/mol dm-3 0. Changing the concentrations of each reactant in turn allows the order of reaction with respect to each reagent to be determined.From the graph: The initial rate. b) Use the results from experiement 4 to confirm that the rate equation is correct.

The rate has increased 3-fold as a result of the change in the bromine concentration and 9-fold as a result of the change in the nitrogen (II) oxide concentration. Sodium thiosulphate reacts with dilute hydrochloric acid to form a precipitate of sulphur: Na2S2O3 (aq) + 2HCl (aq) → 2NaCl (aq) + SO2 (g) + S (s) It is possible to measure the time taken to a point at which a small amount of sulphur has been formed. it is possible to use on set of the results to determine a value for the rate constant. For this reason. The experiment is the repeated with different concentrations to see how the time taken to reach this point changes. Once all the orders for a reaction have been determined. Given that most reactions lead to an integer order. mol dm-3 ÷ s = k x (mol dm-3)2 x mol dm-3 Therefore the units of k = mol-2 dm6 s-1 An approximation to an initial rate The experimentation involved in using the method described above to provide data for the initial rate of a reaction is time consuming. the order with respect to bromine is 1. The time taken to reach a specific point in the reaction (which should soon after the reaction has started) is recorded. (ii) a) Rate – k[NO(g)]2[Br2(g)] b) The rate of reaction 4 is 27 times faster than that of reaction 1. Therefore. an approximation to obtain an initial rate is often used.01]2[0.Answer a) (i) It can be seen from experiments 1 and 2 that doubling the concentration of bromine doubles the rate. the approximation is usually acceptable.01] 0. Provided that this fixed point can be identified each time .011 =k[0. Experiments 1 and 3 show that doubling the concentration of nitrogen (II) oxide quadruples the rate.1 x 104 The units of k are obtained by comparing the units on either side of the rate equation. The rate to this point is taken to be proportional to 1/time taken for each reaction. Consider experiment 1 in the worked example above: 0. Therefore.000001] k = 11000 = 1.011 = k[0. k. the order with respect to nitrogen (II) oxide is 2.

the experiement can be repeated with different initial concentrations of the reactants and the time taken to reach this point can be measured. This requires that in each case the reaction has no progressed very far – in this example. then x is the same in each experiment. Therefore. in each case: Rate (proportional) 1/t Repeating the experiment with different concentrations of the reactants allows the effect of each to be established and the order of reaction with respect to each to be determined. If the reaction is zero order with respect to a particular reactant then the reactant has no effect on the rate and the graph appears as below: If the reaction is first order with respect to a particular reactant then the rate is proportional to the concentration and the graph appears as below. Doing this takes into account the approximations that have been made. then the rate can be expressed as: Rate = x/t If the experiment is repeated so that the time is always measured at the point when the same amount of sulphur has been precipitated. Suppose the distance through the reaction to this point is x and the time taken is t. the amount of precipitate must be small. it is usual to record a range of results and plot a graph of concentration against 1/time. .the reaction is carried out. to do this we have to compare initial rates for which we know the concentrations of all the reagents. The graph is a straight line that goes through the origin. The order of reaction determines the shape of the graph. It might be possible to determine the orders of reaction from just a few measurements. However. However.

the reactant has no effect on the rate and so the line is not curved. the graph of concentration against time appears as below. The assumption is that throughout the reaction there will be such an excess of the other reactants that their concentrations will be nearly constant and they will have little or no effect on the change in the reaction rate. whatever is found is due to the reagent at low concentrations. reaction mixtures are made up in which all the other reactants are present in excess.If the reaction is second order with respect to a particular reactant then the graph is a curve. The reaction must either involve only one reagent or be set up so that the reaction rate depends solely on that reagent. Following a reaction through its course It is sometimes possible to obtain the order of reaction of a particular reagenet by recording data throughout the course of the reaction. The interpretation of the results depends on analysing the shape of the graph of concentration of the reagent against time. However. To do the latter. The theory that explains the likely shapes of these graphs is mathematical. For a zero-order reaction. This is because the rate is proportional to the square of the concentration of the reactant. Therefore. The reactant is consumed in the reaction and therefore its concentration decreases. They are often referred to as ‘clock reactions’. . There are a number of ways of carrying out experiements using this approximation.

the graph of concentration against time is shown below: .For a first order reaction.

How far? Acids. bases and buffers Module 2: Energy Lattice enthalpy Enthalpy and entropy Electrode potentials and fuel cells Module 3: Transition Elements Transition Elements .