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Activity Number
198
Editable
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Textbook References
Benchmarks and Standards
Macro Micro Link
Activity Credits
Requirements

Activation Energy (1-page introduction)

Interactive model, with minimal support

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This Activity Requires:

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

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Overview and Learning Objectives

A chemical reaction is the process of a system going from one stable state to another stable state. A chemical system normally has multiple stable states possessing different potential energies. This model demonstrates the concept of activation energy, in which an experimenter must add energy to a system in order for it to acquire the potential energy to exist in a new stable chemical state. Students manipulate temperature and watch a microscopic reaction occur.

Students will be able to:

  • adjust the ambient temperature to the point where the necessary activation energy is supplied and the reaction can occur;
  • watch in real time how the kinetic energy of particles influences their ability to react;
  • understand that chemical systems have multiple stable states, each determined by a unique potential energy.

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

Activation energy is an empirical parameter used by chemists to describe the temperature dependence of the reaction rate constant. A high activation energy can make a reaction unlikely.

Additional Related Concepts

Physics/Chemistry

  • Activation energy
  • Chemical reaction
  • Reaction rate

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Textbook References

  • Biology: Concepts and Connections (Pearson) 5th Edition - Chapter 5: The Working Cell
  • BSCS Blue (8th Edition) - Chapter 2: Energy, Life and the Biosphere

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Benchmarks and Standards

NSES

  • Life Science: The Cell - 2 Most cell functions involve chemical reactions (Full Text of Standard)

  • Physical-Science: Chemical Reactions - Catalysts, such as metal surfaces, accelerate chemical reactions (Full Text of Standard)

  • Physical-Science: Energy Conservation / Entropy - 1 The total energy of the universe is constant (Full Text of Standard)

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Macro Micro Link

Activation energy enables us to live more or less in a chemically static everyday world. Without activation energy, many reactions would occur spontaneously.

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Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: CCATOMS using Molecular Workbench

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Requirements

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

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These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701 and EIA-0219345

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