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Factors That Affect Chemical Reactions

April 13, 2013

Introduction to the factors that affect chemical reactions:

One of the most important information about a chemical reaction is the speed at which it takes place. It is necessary to know the condition (temperature, pressure and concentration) under which it will proceed at a reasonable rate. Progress of chemical reaction is followed by measuring the change in concentrations of the reactants or products. Thus we can define the rate of chemical reactions as the decrease of concentration of the reactant or increase in concentration of the product per unit time.

Factors affecting the chemical reactions:

There are several factors which affects the rate of chemical reaction.  Some of the factors which affect the rate of chemical reaction are discussed below.

1.      Concentration of reactants:

concentration of reactants

The rate of reaction is proportional to the concentration of the reacting substance. The above graph shows that the rate of chemical reaction decreases with the increase in time as the reaction progresses, i.e. with the increase in time the concentration of the reactant decreases.

2.      Effect of temperature:

It is a matter of common experience that chemical reactions are speeded up if they are heated. In nearly every case, the rate of chemical reaction increases as the temperature is raised. Consequently, chemical reactions are often carried out at elevated temperature so that a good yield of the products can be obtained in a reasonable time.

3.      Effect of catalyst:

Generally a catalyst increases the rate of a chemical reaction at a given temperature.  Further, a catalyst is generally specific in its action, i.e. it may affect the rate of one particular reaction only.

4.      Effect of nature of reactants and products:

Rate of chemical reactions are considerably influenced by the nature of reactants and products. In general, reactions involving greater number of breaking and formation of bonds are slow at room temperature that those which involve lesser number of bond cleavage and formation.

5.      Effect of surface area of reactants:

The factor has significance only in case of heterogeneous reactions. Larger surface area of solid reactants and catalysts tend to increase the rate of reaction. Now since the surface area for the same mass increases with the decrease in particle size, the smaller particles will react more rapidly than the larger particles.

6.      Effect of radiation:

The rate of certain chemical reactions increases by absorption of photons of certain radiations. Such reactions are photochemical reactions.

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