How can each of the four factors that affect the rate of reaction impact a given situation? These factors being Temperature, Concentration, Surface Area, and Catalysts.Give a concrete example of...

How can each of the four factors that affect the rate of reaction impact a given situation? These factors being Temperature, Concentration, Surface Area, and Catalysts.

Give a concrete example of how each of the four facts can impact a given situation. Use specific example and explanation to aid in your discription.

Asked on by darkabyss

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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All four of these factors contribute to the reaction rate being increased or decreased.  Most of them have to do with lowering what is known as the activation energy between the two reactants, causing the reaction to initiate and progress at a faster rate than it normally would.  This is the case in the use of a catalyst.  A catalyst is a substance that is not part of the chemical reaction itself, but lowers the activation energy as described, so the reaction may progress faster.  Water on iron is a good example, it causes the iron to combine faster with oxygen in the air to form rust.  A substance that does the opposite, slowing down the reaction rate, would be called an inhibitor.  In the case of temperature, higher temperatures lower the activation energy as well.  For every ten degrees Celsius, the rate of the reaction effectively doubles.  Concentration in higher numbers would increase the amount of reactant ions in solution, increasing the likelihood of interactions between reactants.  This is the difference between using a weak acid, such as the amount of phosphoric acid in a soft drink and a strong acid, such as sulfuric acid, used commonly in automobile batteries.  Surface area can increase the rate of reaction as well, a popular demonstration is the use of Mentos breath mints and a 2-liter soft drink.  You dump the entire wrapper of Mentos into the 2-liter bottle and the carbonation that is instantaneously liberated is strong enough to shoot the soft drink as high as 20-30 feet into the air!

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