Kinetics: Common Mistakes to Avoid for AP Chemistry
Experiment 12 is based on the concepts involving Kinetics.
Unlike other experiments, a means of measuring time is essential to all kinetics experiments. This may be done with a clock or a timer. The initial concentration of each reactant must be determined. Often this is done through a simple dilution of a stock solution. The experimenter must then determine the concentration of one or more substances later, or record some measurable change in the solution. Unless there will be an attempt to measure the activation energy, the temperature should be kept constant. A thermometer is needed to confirm this.
The experimenter must then determine the concentration of one or more substances later, or record some measurable change in the solution. Unless there will be an attempt to measure the activation energy, the temperature should be kept constant. A thermometer is needed to confirm this.
In other kinetics experiments, the volume or pressure of a gaseous product is monitored. Again, it is not necessary to analyze the reaction mixture. Color changes in a solution may be monitored with a spectrophotometer. Finally, as a last resort, a sample of the reaction mixture may be removed at intervals and analyzed.
The initial measurement and one or more later measurements are required. (Remember, you measure times; you calculate changes in time (Δt)). Glassware, for mixing and diluting solutions, and a thermometer are the equipment needed for a clock experiment. Other kinetics experiments will use additional equipment to measure volume, temperature, etc. Do not forget: In all cases you measure a property, then calculate a change. You never measure a change.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
- When working mathematical problems, be sure your units cancel to give you the desired unit in your answer.
- Be sure to round your answer off to the correct number of significant figures.
- In working rate law problems, be sure to use molarity for your concentration unit.
- In writing integrated rate laws, be sure to include the negative sign with the change in reactant concentration, since it will be decreasing with time.
- Remember that the rate law for an overall reaction must be derived from experimental data.
- In mathematically determining the rate law, be sure to set up the ratio of two experiments such that the concentration of only one reactant has changed.
- Remember that in most of these calculations the base e logarithm (ln) is used and not the base 10 logarithm (log).
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