SC 2019 Semilab: Chemical Reactions: Sluggish, Fast, and Violent

by Eugene Pinkhassik

Some chemical reactions occur very quickly (explosions!) while other reactions are slow, e.g., formation of rust. Some processes generate a lot of heat (explosions again), while others, such as dissolving sugar in water, absorb heat. This semilab will explore the physics of chemical processes and will use math to describe the thermodynamics and kinetics rigorously. In addition to discussing and measuring the rates and heat changes in chemical reactions, we will explore more in-depth questions. For example, - if a reaction occurs slowly, does that mean that atoms and bonds rearrange slowly, or a small fraction of molecules reacts at a time? -if we increase the temperature, will all reactions necessarily go faster? -how can we use the newly acquired knowledge in practical applications? And, of course, we will use the knowledge obtained for creation of some spectacular experiments.

Prerequisites: Fluency with Algebra is expected. Familiarity with General Chemistry helps but is not required.

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