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ERIC Number: EJ820843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Visualizing the Transition State: A Hands-On Approach to the Arrhenius Equation
Kuntzleman, Thomas S.; Swanson, Matthew S.; Sayers, Deborah K.
Journal of Chemical Education, v84 n11 p1776-1778 Nov 2007
An exercise is presented in which the kinetics of the irreversible "reaction" of pennies in the heads-up state to pennies in the tails-up state is simulated by a hands-on, Monte Carlo approach. In addition, the exercise incorporates a second simulation in which the irreversible "reaction" of dice with a red face uppermost to a blue face uppermost is conducted. The transition states of the reactions are assumed to be a penny that is in the process of being flipped or a die in the process of being rolled, respectively. Data collected by students who perform these simulations show that both "reactions" follow first-order decay kinetics. Arrhenius plots from these data yield activation energies comparable to assigned values and pre-exponential factors close to what would be expected based on the probability of a "reactant" achieving the correct orientation for conversion into "product". A comparison of the values obtained for the pre-exponential factors for the different simulations allows students to semi-quantitatively discuss the orientational requirement that is contained within this factor. (Contains 3 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A