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Rates of Reaction

Subjects / Additional Science / OCR Gateway Additional Science B

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Price: £2.95 Duration: 23mins Full topic price: £89.95

Chemical reactions are occurring inside us and around us all the time, but the rate or speed at which they occur varies massively. It can take a tenth of a second for a firework to explode in the sky, take hours for an apple to turn brown or for your body to digest a piece of meat, but take years for a piece of iron to rust completely. In the chemical industry it is crucial for scientists to understand reaction rates when useful chemicals are being produced on a large scale. The company needs reactions to happen quickly to make the process economical, but also at a rate that is safe: explosions are exceptionally fast chemical reactions! This title looks at why reaction rates vary so much and the conditions needed to control reaction rates.

Author: Rob Stafford Publisher: GCSEPod®
Narrator: Pauline Addis ISBN: 978-1-84906-187-2
Video ISBN: 978-1-84906-687-7


  1. Collision Theory
  2. Effects of Concentration and Pressure
  3. Effects of Temperature and Surface Area
  4. Measuring Rates of Reaction
  5. Catalysts
  6. Enzyme-Catalysed Reactions: Effects of Temperature and pH
  7. Enzymes, Microbes and Fermentation

Exam Board Relevance

  • Edxcel
  • AQA
  • CEA
  • IGCSE (EdExcel)
  • OCR
  • SQA
  • WJEC
  • IGCSE (CiE)

Includes original GCSEPod image art. Additional pictorial images created by Damon Smith

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Curriculum and Exam Board Information

Key Issues



  • carry out simple quantitative determination of solubility of solids in water leading to an understanding of solubility curves
  • Catalysts
  • Catalysts are important in increasing the rates of chemical reactions used in industrial processes to reduce costs
  • Catalysts change the rate of chemical reactions but are not used up during the reaction
  • Changing the Concentration or Pressure
  • Chemical reactions can only occur when reacting particles collide with each other and with sufficient energy
  • Collision theory
  • Collision theory of reactions
  • Concentrations of Solutions
  • Concentrations of solutions are given in moles per cubic decimetre (mol/dm3). Equal volumes of solutions of the same molar concentration contain the same number of moles of solute, i.e. the same number of particles
  • decomposition of limestone
  • demonstrate a knowledge that materials can be decomposed by heat including the effect of heat on hydrated copper(II) sulphate
  • describe the qualitative effects of temperature, concentration, particle size, catalysis and, as appropriate, light on the rate of chemical reactions
  • Different reactions need different catalysts
  • Effect of a catalyst on a given rate of reaction
  • Effect of changes in temperature, concentration and surface area on reaction rate
  • Effect of temperature and pH on enzyme-catalysed reactions
  • Enzymes and their uses
  • explain that the use of a catalyst lowers energy demand for an industrial process
  • Factors affecting the rates of chemical reactions
  • identify the significant factors which control the rates of reaction and, where appropriate, their quantitative effects. Quantitative effects limited to the interpretation of data, e.g. drawing graphs and making predictions about how the rate may change
  • Increasing the concentration of reactants in solutions and increasing the pressure of reacting gases also increases the frequency of collisions and so increases the rate of reaction
  • Increasing the Rate of a Chemical Reaction
  • Increasing the temperature increases the speed of the reacting particles so that they collide more frequently and more energetically. This increases the rate of reaction
  • interpret data from tables and graphs relating to rate of reaction (for example qualitative link between a steeper gradient and higher rate)
  • Investigating reaction rates
  • Investigation of the effects of temperature, concentration and surface area on reaction rate
  • know some examples of factors that speed up reactions (for example temperature, surface area, concentration, use of a catalyst)
  • Rates of reactions vary from very fast to very slow
  • recognise the factors affecting solution, i.e. heat, surface area, stirring, volume of solvent
  • relate the factors which control rates of chemical reactions to practical problems associated with manufacturing processes in industry
  • The Activation Energy
  • The minimum amount of energy particles must have to react is called the activation energy
  • The Rate of a Chemical Reaction
  • The rate of a chemical reaction can be found by measuring the amount of a reactant used or the amount of product formed over time
  • The rate of a chemical reaction increases if the temperature increases, if the concentration of dissolved reactants or the pressure of gases increases, if solid reactants are in smaller pieces (greater surface area) or if a catalyst is used
  • The Rate of Reaction
  • thermal cracking of hydrocarbons
  • thermal decomposition of metal carbonates
  • understand the qualitative effect of temperature on the solubility of solids and gases in water
  • understand the terms: solvent, solute, solution, saturated, hydrated and dehydration
  • use collision theory to explain the effect of an increase in concentration on the rate of reaction
  • use given information to discuss the reasons for choosing conditions for a process (for example, ammonia and sulphuric acid)
  • Use of enzymes from microorganisms
  • Use of fermentation to make wine, beer and bread
  • Variation in the rates of different reactions


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