slowest step determines rate of overall reaction


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Liam Maxwell 2E
Posts: 53
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 am

slowest step determines rate of overall reaction

Postby Liam Maxwell 2E » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:06 am

could someone explain why the slowest step in a rate reaction determines the overall rate of the reaction. thanks!

Jason Liu 1C
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:04 am

Re: slowest step determines rate of overall reaction

Postby Jason Liu 1C » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:51 am

The slowest step determines the rate of the overall reaction because other intermediate steps need the products of the slowest step to continue on with the reaction. These other steps may be faster, but they can only go as fast as the slowest step, which is why the rate of the overall reaction is determined by the slowest step.

Sirajbir Sodhi 2K
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:00 am

Re: slowest step determines rate of overall reaction

Postby Sirajbir Sodhi 2K » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:10 am

Here's an analogy to add to the above answer:

Say you are doing a group lab report. You can only turn in your lab report when all members are done with their parts. Thus, you can only turn in the lab report when the member who takes the longest to do his/her part finishes. So you can say that the rate at which work on the lab report is done is limited by the lab member who takes the longest to do his/her part. The person who does his/her part the slowest is analogous to the rate-determining step (the slowest step).

aaron tang 2K
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:01 am

Re: slowest step determines rate of overall reaction

Postby aaron tang 2K » Mon Mar 05, 2018 2:20 pm

The slowest step determines the rate of the overall reaction because all the other reactions following is going as fast as the slowest step. Which means that the slowest step controls the overall rate of the overall reaction.


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