Lesson 19: More About Rates of Chemical Reactions

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Last week was an introduction to rates of chemical reactions. This week we finish the chapter with Le Châtelier’s principle and speeding up reactions using catalysts.

Textbook Reading: Finish Chapter 15, pp. 546-566.

Le Châtelier’s principle helps predict the effect of disturbances to equilibrium in reversible reactions.

So, how do you pronounce Le Châtelier? Mr. Anderson at Bozeman Science has the answer:

The activation energy is the amount of energy that must be added to a system for two substances to react to form products. Some reactions don’t need much energy to proceed, like our sodium bicarbonate and acetic acid reaction last week. Others, like mixing hydrogen and oxygen gas to form water, take a lot of energy for the product to be formed.


In our lab we are going to take a look at how adding a catalyst can allow reactions to go forward with less added energy. The catalyst is not part of the reaction, that is it doesn’t end up in the product, but does allow reactions to happen that might not otherwise occur. Thus, catalysts can speed up reactions.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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