If the activation energy required for a chemical reaction were reduced, what would happen to the rate of the reaction?
A.The rate would increase.
B.The rate would decrease.
C.The rate would remain the same.
D.The rate would go up and down.
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Because if the chemical reaction reduced, then wouldn't the rate of the reaction reduce as well?
@thatman1 Most of the time Biologists are talking about reaction rates in terms of Gibb's Free Energy and catalysts/enzymes. In these terms, the energy of activation is defined as the energy needed to reach the transition state between reactant and product. So, for use, the chemical reaction has already started.
If less energy is needed to reach that transition state, would you expect the reaction to go faster, slower, or remain at the same rate?
Analogy**: You need to push a large metal box up a ramp. To start it moving you need to overcome the inertia that is keeping the box in place as well as the friction between the box and the ramp. This is going to be hard and require tremendous effort just to start the "reaction", in this case, getting the box to move. Now we lower the energy we need to beat the inertia and friction by placing little wheels underneath the box.
Will it be easier to push the box up the ramp?
**Please keep in mind that this is not a perfect analogy. In this system we lower the total energy of activation and the energy expended to completely move the box. This is because the wheels reduce the friction the entire way along the ramp compared to the amount of friction along the ramp without wheels.