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collision-theory-handout - The Collision Theory and...

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The Collision Theory and Activation Energy Explaining how and why factors affect reaction rates The Maxwell-Boltzman apparatus • Maxwell and Boltzman performed an experiment to determine the kinetic energy distribution of atoms • Because all atoms of an element have roughly the same mass, the kinetic energy of identical atoms is determined by velocity (KE= ½mv 2 ) The Maxwell-Boltzman distribution • The resulting disk looks like this: Basically, if we plot the intensity of the dots on a graph we get a graph of fraction of atoms/molecules vs. kinetic energy: Fraction of molecules Kinetic energy ⎯→ Molecules hit disk first Molecules hit disk last Why is the graph skewed? • This curve is characteristic of all molecules • The curve is elongated due to how atoms collide, and to the units of the graph • Recall all particles are in motion. An average speed will be reached. • The graph is skewed because 0 is the lower limit, but theoretically there is no upper limit Same data, different axes. E.g. v=1, KE=1
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