# Activation Energy and Catalyst - Midland High School Activation Energy and Catalyst Temperature and Rate Generally, as temperature increases, so does the reaction rate. This is because k is temperature dependent.

The Collision Model In a chemical reaction, bonds are broken and new bonds are formed. Molecules can only react if they collide with each other. The Collision Model Furthermore, molecules must collide with the correct orientation and with enough energy to cause bond breakage and formation.

Activation Energy In other words, there is a minimum amount of energy required for reaction: the activation energy, Ea. Just as a ball cannot get over a hill if it does not roll up the hill with enough energy, a reaction cannot occur unless the molecules possess sufficient energy to get over the activation energy barrier.

Reaction Coordinate Diagrams It is helpful to visualize energy changes throughout a process on a reaction coordinate diagram like this one for the rearrangement of methyl isonitrile. Reaction Coordinate Diagrams

The diagram shows the energy of the reactants and products (and, therefore, E). The high point on the diagram is the transition state. The species present at the transition state is called the activated complex.

The energy gap between the reactants and the activated complex is the activation energy barrier. MaxwellBoltzmann Distributions Temperature is defined as a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a sample.

At any temperature there is a wide distribution of kinetic energies. MaxwellBoltzmann Distributions As the temperature increases, the curve flattens and broadens. Thus at higher temperatures, a larger

population of molecules has higher energy. MaxwellBoltzmann Distributions If the dotted line represents the activation energy, then as the temperature increases, so does the fraction of molecules that can overcome the activation energy barrier. As a result, the

reaction rate increases. MaxwellBoltzmann Distributions This fraction of molecules can be found through the expression -E a f = e RT where R is the gas constant and T is the Kelvin temperature.

Arrhenius Equation Svante Arrhenius developed a mathematical relationship between k and Ea: k=Ae -E a RT where A is the frequency factor, a number that represents the likelihood that collisions would occur with the proper orientation for reaction.

Arrhenius Equation Taking the natural logarithm of both sides, the equation becomes ln k = - y = Ea

( 1 ) + ln A R T m x Therefore, if k is determined experimentally at

several temperatures, Ea can be calculated 1 from the slope of a plot of ln k vs. T . + b Catalysts Catalysts increase the rate of a reaction by decreasing the activation energy of the reaction. Catalysts change the mechanism by which the

process occurs. Catalysts One way a catalyst can speed up a reaction is by holding the reactants together and helping bonds to break. Enzymes

Enzymes are catalysts in biological systems. The substrate fits into the active site of the enzyme much like a key fits into a lock.