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I am confused as to why the overall rate law is the rate law of just the slowest step. I understand why the slow step must determine the rest of it, but why are the species in the other steps not included in the overall rate law?
I think this is because this is a very simplified model and way of looking at reactions. Here, we assume an all or nothing approach to reaction processes where the reaction either proceeds to completion or does not proceed at all. This is a result of the activation energies of the reaction, and the slowest step determines if the reaction proceeds because it has the highest activation energy. As a result of this factor, the reaction mechanisms are thus dictated and simplified to only the slowest step.
Like someone said before, it's essentially an all or nothing kind of behavior. Someone explained it to me in a helpful analogy: if you're hiking with a group of people, the slowest person in the group determines the pace of their hike. The other people, no matter how fast they are, must keep the pace of the slowest person in order to stick together as a group. Hope this helps!
The slow step is considered the rate determining step. That means that the rate of the entire reaction is determined by that step. Imagine you are walking up a hill as a group, the slowest member of the group is the rate determining step
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