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Essentially, activation energy is the energy required for a reaction to proceed. For example, when you need to strike a match, you need a certain amount of energy in order for the match to be lit. Kinetics is related to how the activation energy changes as a result of a catalyst, temperature, concentration, and particle size. In class, we have always discussed state functions where we only care about the initial and final states. In kinetics, we care about how fast or slow the reaction will proceed.
Kinetic control means that even the reaction is favorable in terms of thermodynamics(gibbs free energy is zero), but kinetics trumps that because there is a huge activation energy barrier between the reactant and product.
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