Microscopic View of Chemical Reactions

Submitted by jwmoore on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:07


Now that we know something about how reaction rates are defined, measured, and related to the concentrations of substances which participate in a reaction, we would like to be able to interpret these macroscopic observations in terms of some microscopic model. On the microscopic level, a chemical reactionA process in which one or more substances, the reactant or reactants, change into one or more different substances, the products; chemical change involves rearrangement, combination, or separation of atoms. Also called chemical change. involves transformation of reactantA substance consumed by a chemical reaction. atomsThe smallest particle of an element that can be involved in chemical combination with another element; an atom consists of protons and neutrons in a tiny, very dense nucleus, surrounded by electrons, which occupy most of its volume., ions, and/or molecules into productA substance produced by a chemical reaction. atoms, ions, and/or molecules. This requires that some bonds be broken, other bonds be formed, and some nuclei be moved to new locations. There are a limited number of categories into which such microscopic transformations can be classified, and each of these can be related to a macroscopic rate lawAn equation which describes the rate of a reaction as a function of the rate constant and the concentrations of reactants (and any other substances that affect the rate, such as products or catalysts); also called rate equation.. Therefore studies of reaction rates provide some insight into what the atoms and molecules of reactants and products are doing as a reaction occurs.