Chemistry 122: Reaction Mechanisms

Chemistry 122: Reaction Mechanisms - Chemistry 121 14.6...

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Chemistry 121 2/17/2014 14.6 Reaction Mechanisms The sequence of events that describes the actual process by which reactants become products is called the reaction mechanism. - Reactions may occur all at once or through several discrete steps. - The individual steps that make up a reaction mechanism are called elementary reactions. Example: the overall equation for the breakdown of ozone is: 2O 3 (g) 3O 2 (g) A two-step mechanism has been proposed: (1) O 3 (g)  O 2 (g) + O (g) (Unimolecular reaction) (2) O 3 (g) + O (g)  2O 2 (g) (bimolecular reaction) An elementary reaction is characterize by its molecularity, the number of reactant particles in the step. Termolecular reactions are extremely rare. In general, we propose unimolecular and/or bimolecular reactions as reasonable steps in a mechanism. In the previous example O is neither a reactant nor a product of the reaction, it is called an intermediate.
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Intermediate are not the same as transition slates! 1) A + B C 2) C D A+ B D Rate laws for Elementary Reactions
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