The Physics Of Chemical Kinetics

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Investigations into the mechanics of chemical kinetics can reveal invaluable information relating to the rates of reaction. There are numerable applications of reaction rates, knowledge in this area is pivotal for industrial, commercial and research sectors. Thus, allowing them the ability to manipulate a variety of factors of chemical reactions with the use of reaction rates. In the scope of the kinetics of clock reactions, there is a range of information that can be obtained about reaction rates (Shakhashiri, 1992).

A clock reaction is characterised by an abrupt colour change following an established time lag (Lente et al, 2007). The induction period in a clock reaction is a result of low concentrations of the clock chemical (i.e. the chemical that enables the final reaction). The induction period ends after the total consumption of a limiting reagent, which initiates a short increase in the rate of product formation, resulting in a visible colour change (Schmitz, 2010)(Lente et al, 2007). The reaction rate of clock reactions is subject to factors including temperature, concentration, catalysis and inhibition. These factors can be manipulated, thus changing the length of the induction period in a ‘clock-like’ manner (Shakhashiri, 1992).

Changes in the rate of reaction can be described in terms of chemical equilibrium. “Chemical equilibrium is a state in which the forward and reverse reactions take place at the same rate” (Wilbraham et al, 2002). The relative
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