Core Practical 6: Investigating Reaction Rates

This investigation is in two parts. Both parts require the reaction to be observed with respect to time to obtain the rate

  

In the first part, marble chips must be added to hydrochloric acid, and the volume of gas collected and measured over time. This will lead to graphical analysis to calculate rate, as well as an appreciation for how the rate may change with varying concentration of acid/ temperature/ surface area of marble chips.

  

The second part involves sodium thiosulfate reacting with dilute hydrochloric acid to produce a precipitate using the idea of a ‘disappearing cross’ to observe the change in the appearance of the reaction mixture as a precipitate of sulfur is formed. This must be carried out at different temperatures by warming the thiosulfate solution. A graph must be drawn to show the time taken for the reaction to take place at different temperatures.

rates of reaction-01.png

Part 1 - Investigate the rate of a reaction by measuring the production of a gas

  1. use a measuring cylinder to add 50 ml of hydrochloric acid to a conical flask

  2. add 0.5 g of marble chips (calcium carbonate) to the flask, and immediately connect the gas syringe and start a timer

  3. at every 20 seconds, record how much gas has been produced

  4. when the reaction is complete, clean the apparatus as instructed by your teacher

  5. repeat steps 1 to 5 with either:

    • different sized marble chips

    • different concentrations of hydrochloric acid

    • different temperatures of the acid

Part 2 - Investigate the rate of a reaction by observing a colour change

  1. use a measuring cylinder to add 50 ml of sodium thiosulfate solution to a conical flask

  2. measure and record the temperature of the solution

  3. place the conical flask on a piece of paper with a black cross drawn on it

  4. use another measuring cylinder to add 10 ml of hydrochloric acid to the flask, and immediately start a timer

  5. when the cross is no longer visible record the time taken, and then clean the apparatus as instructed by your teacher

  6. repeat steps 1 to 6 with different starting temperatures of sodium thiosulfate solution

Measuring Rates

There are three main ways to measure the rate of a reaction:

  1. the change of mass of reactants over time

  2. the volume of gas produced over time

  3. the time taken for a solution to change colour, or form a precipitate

  

Mass change

This method works by measuring the amount of mass change during set time intervals, and then the data can be plotted on a graph.

  

Volume of gas

Often easier than measuring small changes in mass. This method works by measuring the amount of gas collected during set time intervals, and then the data can be plotted on a graph.

48 measuring rates-01.png

Colour change/precipitation

This can either be done to measure the change in colour, or to measure change in opaqueness (disappearing cross - as the cross slowly 'disappears' due to precipitate forming). The end point is quite inaccurate when using the human eye, so to increase accuracy we can use digital data loggers instead.

Collision Theory

Chemical reactions take place when the reactant particles collide together, and then form new products.

  

Not every collision is successful; the particles have to collide with the right amount of energy (the activation energy).

  

Rates of reaction are increased when the frequency and/or the energy of collisions is increased.

Factors Affecting Rates

Temperature

Increasing the temperature of a reaction gives the particles more energy to collide. This leads to more frequent, successful collisions and so the rate of reaction increases.

  

Concentration of solution, or Pressure of gas

Increasing the concentration/pressure of reactants, increases the amount of particles in a given volume. This leads to more frequent, successful collisions and so the rate of reaction increases.

  

Surface area of solid reactants

Increasing the surface area of reactants frees up more particles that are available to collide right away. This doesn't add more particles in to the reaction, it only allows particles that would have once had to wait for other particles to react first to be available. This leads to more frequent, successful collisions and so the rate of reaction increases.

49 factors affecting rate-01.png

Catalysts

Catalysts are substances that speed up the rate of a reaction without altering the products of the reaction, being itself unchanged chemically (and in mass) at the end of the reaction.

  

They provide an an alternative pathway for a reaction, reducing the activation energy of the reaction - causing more frequent, successful collisions and so the rate of reaction increases.

  

Enzymes are biological catalysts and are used in the production of alcoholic drinks (among other things).

Calculating Rate

The shorter the reaction time is, the faster the rate of the reaction. We can calculate rate of reaction using one of three equations:

  

rate = quantity of reactant used ÷ time taken

  

or

  

rate = quantity of product made ÷ time taken​ 

  

or

  

rate = change in mass/volume ÷ change in time

The gradient of the line is equal to the rate of reaction. The reaction with the higher temperature:

  • gives a steeper line (gradient)

  • finishes sooner

  • still produces the same mass increase

The gradient of the line is equal to the rate of reaction. The reaction with the larger surface area:

  • gives a steeper line (gradient)

  • finishes sooner

  • still produces the same volume increase

The gradient of the line is equal to the rate of reaction. The reaction with a catalyst:

  • gives a steeper line (gradient)

  • finishes sooner

  • still causes all reactant to be used up

 
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