Chemical reactions are constantly occurring all around us. However, many substances that are capable of reacting will not do so under normal conditions. For example, gasoline and other flammable organic fuels can be safely stored at room temperature with little risk of a reaction. However, as seen in the image above, if heated to a high enough temperature, hydrocarbon fuels will react rapidly and explosively. Chemical kinetics is the study of the rates of chemical reactions. Reaction rates vary widely from one reaction to another. In addition, the rate of a reaction can be influenced by changes in the reaction conditions, such as the concentrations of the reactants and the temperature. Knowledge of reaction rates helps chemists better understand and control the reactions they study both in and out of the laboratory.
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