Increasing the Rate of a Reaction

Submitted by jwmoore on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 17:08

Aside from changing the concentrations of reactants or products which appear in the 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., there are two main techniques by which reaction rates can be increased. As a rough rule of thumb, raising the temperature by an increment of 10 K usually increases the rate by a factor between 2 and 4. The effect of a catalyst can be even more striking. Certain highly efficient catalysts known as enzymes are capable of speeding up reactions to hundreds of thousands of times their normal rates. Both the effect of temperature and the effect of a catalyst are related to activation energyThe energy barrier over which a reaction must progress in order for reactants to form products; the minimum energy that reactants must have if they are to be converted to products., and we shall consider each in turn