Join Our Discord

Learn Moreย ย ๐Ÿ‘‡

caret down
caret up

Join our Discord

1,000s of Fiveable Community students are already finding study help, meeting new friends, and sharing tons of opportunities among other students around the world! Don't miss out!ย  ๐ŸŽ‰

group of students
group of students

๐Ÿงชย ap chem

ย ย >ย ย 

๐Ÿ‘Ÿย Unit 5

ย ย โ€ขย ย โฑ๏ธ3 min read

5.0 Unit 5 Overview: Kinetics

Jacob Jeffries

jacob jeffries

Dalia Savy

dalia savy

โฑ๏ธ August 20, 2020


From the College Board

๐Ÿ‘€ Develop Your Understanding of this unit

According to the College Board, "Unit 4 focused on chemical changes๐Ÿ’ฅ; in Unit 5 students will develop an understanding of the rates at which chemical changes occur and the factors that influence the rates๐Ÿ“ˆ. Those factors include the concentration of reactants, temperature, catalysts, and other environmental factors. Chemical changes are represented by chemical reactions, and the rates of chemical reactions are determined by the details of the molecular collisions.

Rates of change in chemical reactions are observable and measurable๐Ÿ“. When measuring rates of change, students are measuring the concentration of reactant or product species as a function of time. These chemical processes may be observed in a variety of ways and often involve changes in energy as well. In subsequent units, students will describe the role of energyโšก in changes in matter."

๐Ÿ”Ž Big Idea Questions

  1. Why are some reactions faster than other reactions?

  2. How long will a marble statue last?๐Ÿ—ฟ

  3. How can a sports drink cure a headache?๐Ÿค•

  4. Why does bread rise?๐Ÿž

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ”ฌWhat is Kinetics?

Kinetics is the study of the rate of chemical reactions, essentially how fast a chemical reaction goes๐Ÿ’จ. While we can study whether a reaction will actually happen or not using many tools, such as solubility rules and activity series, one cannot use these same tools to study the specific rate at which a reaction will happen. This is analogous to knowing whether someone moved or not since the last 5 seconds have passed, versus knowing with which speed they moved in that time interval.

โœ๏ธAbout 7-9% of the exam tests your knowledge from this unit.

How We Study Kinetics

To study the rates at which reactions take place, physical chemists (who study chemistry from a mathematical and physics-motivated perspective) model reactions using the collision model, which we will discuss shortly. This is the same theory used to model ideal gases.

The Collision Model of Kinetics - Image Courtesy of BCOpenTextbooks

Certain reactions are then categorized depending on a parameter n, which essentially describes how the amount of atoms in a sample (concentration) affects the rate of collisions (as a higher concentration --> more atoms = more collisions). This parameter n is called the reaction order. For example n = 1 is equivalent to first order, n = 2 is equivalent to second order, and the same pattern holds for higher values of n. We will come to learn of how reaction rate can be defined using a "rate law", essentially an equation that describes how changes in concentration impact the rate of a reaction (Sneak peek: R = k[A]^n)

Reaction Mechanisms

The order of a reaction must either be determined experimentally, or through analyzing a reaction mechanism, which deeper describes the chemical details of a reaction. Instead of analyzing the reactions macroscopically, this method allows chemists to see a relatively more accurate picture regarding how and why a chemical reaction happens, instead of simply analyzing what products come from what reactants.

An energy diagram showing potential energy against reaction progress, a common way of showing activation energy, Image Courtesy of SoftSchools

These reaction mechanisms motivate finding overall rates, as the rates of each mechanistic step can be used to find the overall rate of the reaction by analyzing something called the rate-limiting step, which is conceptually similar to the concept of limiting reactants in stoichiometry.

A tent in the woods with a fire

Get your ap chem survival pack!

Download our ap chem survival pack and get access to every resource you need to get a 5.

ap chem study guides

โš›๏ธย  Unit 1: Atomic Structure and Properties

๐ŸŒ€ย  Unit 3: Intermolecular Forces and Properties

๐Ÿงชย  Unit 4: Chemical Reactions

๐Ÿ‘Ÿย  Unit 5: Kinetics

๐Ÿ”ฅย  Unit 6: Thermodynamics

โš–๏ธย  Unit 7: Equilibrium

ย  Unit 9: Applications of Thermodynamics

๐Ÿคบย  AP Chemistry Essentials

continue learning

Slide 1 of 11

Join Our Discord


Fiveable Community students are already meeting new friends, starting study groups, and sharing tons of opportunities for other high schoolers. Soon the Fiveable Community will be on a totally new platform where you can share, save, and organize your learning links and lead study groups among other students!๐ŸŽ‰

*apยฎ and advanced placementยฎ are registered trademarks of the college board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.

ยฉ fiveable 2021 | all rights reserved.

2550 north lake drive
suite 2
milwaukee, wi 53211