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Hi, I was working on HW question 7A.7 and it made me realize I don't really understand what it means if a reaction is first order? I know how to tell based on the graph etc, but what does it mean in terms of units and reaction speed etc?
Also, note that just because a reactant is first order, doesn't necessarily mean the reaction itself is as well. If multiple reactants are first order, the reaction is the sum of those reactants (So if N and O were both first order in forming NO, the reaction is second order).
In a first order reaction, the rate of reaction is directly proportional to the concentration of a single reacting substance. Whereas in a 2nd order reaction the rate depends on the concentration of 2 reacting first order substances or a single reactant with a squared concentration. Because it depends on a single substance, the graph of a first order reaction is a straight line. For a zeroth order reaction the rate is solely dependent on the rate constant.
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