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Modeling Scenario


Author(s): Karen Bliss

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA USA

Keywords: kinetics Law of Mass Action fitting order of reaction chemical reaction

113 total view(s), 75 download(s)


Resource Image We help students see the connection between college level chemistry course work and their differential equations coursework. We do this through modeling kinetics, or rates of chemical reaction.


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Article Context

Resource Type
Differential Equation Type
Qualitative Analysis
Application Area
Pedagogical Approaches
Vision and Change Core Competencies - Ability
Bloom's Cognitive Level


We study zeroth, first, and second order reactions and offer many opportunities to model these chemical reactions with data, some of which comes from traditional introductory chemistry textbooks. We ask students to verify their model through parameter estimation.

Chemists often use differential equations to model chemical reactions. The rate of reaction is determined by the concentrations of the reactants.

This is sometimes referred to as The Law of Mass Action.

For example, it is known that, ``The rate of decomposition is dependent on the temperature and concentration of the peroxide, as well as the pH and the presence of impurities and stabilizers.'' Thus we consider reactions to be dependent upon the concentration of a single reactant, say, A, where [A] typically represents the concentration (perhaps in units of moles per liter) of the reactant A present at time t.



Article Files


Author(s): Karen Bliss

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington VA USA



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