Overall reaction rate

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haleyf 2I
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Overall reaction rate

Postby haleyf 2I » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:03 pm

Why is the overall rate of reaction equal to just the rate of the slowest step rather than the sum off the rates of each step?

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Re: Overall reaction rate

Postby Chem_Mod » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:45 pm

The slowest step essentially determines the rate of the entire mechanism. Just imagine if you're driving on the freeway from home, you may be smooth-sailing for some miles (ie. fast reactions) but once you reach the heavily congested 405 (ie. slow step) you essentially sit there in your car for hours on end. With that analogy in mind, how fast you reach your destination is primarily dependent on the time spent on the 405, rendering the fast several miles negligible.

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