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Activation Energy

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Collision Theory and Activation Energy

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Collision theory

License: CC BY-NC 3.0


The collision theory is an important theory that runs behind the scenes in every reaction. If the reactants collide in the correct way, then products form. What two criteria must be met to be able to produce products?

The answers can be found here.

Activation Energy

Not all reactions are ready to go at all conditions; sometimes heat needs to added, from a flame for instance. This is to reach the activation energy of the particular reaction. The collision theory and activation energy go hand in hand. One of the criteria in the collision theory is that there must be enough energy (usually in the form of kinetic energy). If this energy limit is not met the reaction will not take place. This energy limit is the activation energy! 
What happens if the activation energy is not met?


License: CC BY-NC 3.0


Catalysts go even more hand in hand. Activation energy is related to the collision theory and catalysts are related to activation energy. Activation energy is sort of one of the two criteria and catalysts take care of the other, if it is present in the reaction. In what way does a catalyst lower the activation energy?

Note: A common misconception is that the catalyst does not take part in the reaction. This is wrong. It does in fact take part in the reaction; it is just remade in the end. 

The answers can be found here.

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  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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