Termolecular Processes

Submitted by ChemPRIME Staff on Thu, 12/16/2010 - 15:48

A termolecular processIn a reaction mechanism, an elementary step in which three species collide. is one which involves simultaneous collision of three microscopic particles. In the gasA state of matter in which a substance occupies the full volume of its container and changes shape to match the shape of the container. In a gas the distance between particles is much greater than the diameters of the particles themselves; hence the distances between particles can change as necessary so that the matter uniformly occupies its container. phase, termolecular processes occur much less often than bimolecular processes, because the probability of three molecules all coming together at the same time is less than a thousandth the probability that two molecules will collide. Consequently it is commonly found that if three molecules, A, B, and C, must combine during the course of a reaction, they will do so stepwise. That is, B and C might first combine in a bimolecular process to form BC, which would then combine with A in a second bimolecular process. This can usually happen many times over before a successful termolecular collision would occur.