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Reaction mechanisms tell us the order and number of elementary steps that occur to form products. They also tell us whether or not reaction intermediates are formed then consumed. The slowest step in the mechanism, which is usually indicated, determines the rate of the reaction.
In essence, reaction mechanisms define the number of steps needed to form products. They offer an explanation to how a reaction occurs (the creation and subsequent consumption of intermediates). It also helps in identifying the rate of reaction based on the slowest step from all the elementary steps.
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