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Slowest Elementary Step

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:36 pm
by Ava Harvey 2B
I understand that the slowest elementary step in a sequence of reactions governs the overall rate of formation of products. However, I am still a bit confused as to the reasoning behind this and as to why this is this case. If someone wouldn't mind explaining that to me, that would be great. Thanks so much!

Re: Slowest Elementary Step

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:39 pm
by Michelle Chernyak 1J
Have you ever heard of the saying that a team is only as strong as its weakest link? Well basically its the same type of situation. Even if there are faster steps in the reaction, the slowest step is the one that governs the reaction because the rate of the reaction must accommodate for that step as well and cannot ignore it. If the rate of the reaction was dictated by its faster step, then the slowest step would not have time to form and therefore would be left out of the reaction.

Hope this helps!

Re: Slowest Elementary Step

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:09 pm
by Anna Okabe
Because in a reaction, multiple steps are happening simultaneously so the step that takes the longest determines the time it takes overall.

Re: Slowest Elementary Step

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:28 pm
by andrewr2H
I believe this is because many of the reactions may be occurring at once, so regardless if one of these reactions finishes in a very short amount of time, it does not necessarily make the reactions slower than it occur faster or sooner.

Re: Slowest Elementary Step

Posted: Tue Feb 27, 2018 9:59 pm
by Christina Bedrosian 1B
We need the longest time taken for products to be formed or else that slowest step would not be able to be completed; if the slowest step takes 10 seconds but every other step only takes 1, you still need to give the reaction 10 seconds to complete that slow step