Hi, I'm really stuck with this question about energy release and the effect various types of reactants have on energy release. I have to describe the condition under which explosions occur and...

Hi,

I'm really stuck with this question about energy release and the effect various types of reactants have on energy release. I have to describe the condition under which explosions occur and relate these to the importance of collisions between reacting particles. Please help, I'm really lost with this.

Thanks,

Cassie

Asked on by cassash

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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First of all, the total system momentum is conserved for collisions that occur between objects which are located in an isolated system. This is known as the principle of momentum conservation and this can definitely be applied to what occurs during an explosion. Before the explosion, the total momentum  of the system is zero as the objects are at rest. After the explosion, the total momentum is still zero. For example, if a cannon is loaded with an object like a cannonball, both of these items are at rest. If fuel is ignited, it sets off an explosion that forces the cannon ball out of the cannon at high speed. This changes the momentum of the cannonball as it is propelled forward and the cannon itself has the same momentum change as it moves backwards. However, the total momentum at the end of the explosion is zero as the forward and backward motions vector sums will be zero. Furthermore, for a chemical reaction to occur, the reactants must collide and that means that activation energy is needed. Catalysts help to speed along chemical reactions. Changing the temperature of a reaction helps particles move faster and once they have more energy, they will collide more often thus the rate of reaction will increase. Changes in concentration or pressure allows the particles to become in closer proximity thus there is a greater chance of collisions and reaction rate will increase as well. 

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