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yes, the instantaneous rate is always its maximum value in the initial stages when you have your initial concentrations of each reactant and are ready to conduct the experiment. As the reaction approaches equilibrium, the instantaneous rate of the reaction decreases, and the rates of the forward and reverse reactions reach a point where they are equal, and then the reaction is considered to be at equilibrium.
Just to make sure I've got this down: for a zero-order reaction the rate doesn't change, for a first-order reaction the rate decreases linearly, and for a second-order reaction it decreases exponentially. Is that correct?
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