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Activated Complex

Configurations that atoms pass through during a chemical reaction

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Lego Reactions

Credit: Greencolander
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

A Pile of Legos [Figure1]

Activated Complex

The activated complex in a reaction is the point when all the pieces of a reaction are separate, before they are combined together. This occurs after the activation energy, the top of curve, and where the potential energy is the highest. You can think of this in terms of legos. You want to create a house, but all your legos are used up. You decide to take apart an old spaceship to find pieces. In the reaction of spaceship → house, the activated complex is when you’ve just taken apart the spaceship, and have a pile of legos.

Creative Applications

1. What are the reactants and the products in this reaction?

2. If the house had fewer bonds than the spaceship, was this reaction exothermic or endothermic?

3. You realize that a burner from your spaceship can double as a fireplace in your house, so you can reuse it. How does this affect the position of the activated complex on the graph?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Greencolander; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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