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Investigate how surface area alters the rate of a reaction.

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Chemistry coursework Aim: To investigate how surface area alters the rate of a reaction. I have decided to investigate the effect of a certain concentration of hydrochloric acid on calcium carbonate crystals. I want to see how surface area affects the rate of reaction I didn't have that sort of time in the laboratory to wait around. In this investigation I will be using the following apparatus, one conical flask to put the crystals in and also to put the acid in so they react. * One bung to seal the top of the conical flask. * A piece of delivery tube, this carries the gas to the measuring cylinder. * Two measuring cylinders, one to measure the amount of acid and water to make my acid concentrations, and the other which is slightly bigger to collect the gas during the reaction so I know when the amount I desire has been collected * One water bath to store water in and helping to see how much gas had been collected. * One scales to measure the weight of the crystals. * I will use safety glasses at all times as I am working with hydrochloric acid. Method: We firstly got all the types of calcium carbonate crystals which were small crystals, medium sized crystals, large crystals and powdered crystals. ...read more.


The rate at which the particles collide is dependent upon four factors, which are: 1. Temperature, 2. Concentration, 3. Catalyst, 4. Surface Area of the Particles. Temperature affects the rate of reaction as the temperature is increased the particles gain more energy and move at a quicker rate. As the particles are moving quicker with more energy more collisions are likely to take place, breaking more bonds, and therefore the rate of reaction increases. Concentration or pressure is a huge factor in the rate of reaction because as the reactant becomes more and more concentrated there are more particles of the reactant packed in, per unit volume, meaning that more useful collisions are likely to occur in order to increase the rate of reaction. Catalysts increase the number of collisions as it gives the reacting particles a surface to stick to on which they can collide. This obviously increases the number of collisions increasing the rate of reaction. Less activation energy is needed when there is a catalyst involved as the rate of reaction increases due to the catalyst. The surface area of the particles can affect the rate of reaction as if there is one reactant there will be a smaller surface area for the particles to collide with and break up than if there were many smaller pieces of the reactant of the same volume. ...read more.


During the experiment there was proof that a reaction was actually happening. We knew this because every time we emptied out the apparatus in what the reaction was taking place we found that there was smoke coming from the apparatus. The trends and patterns that happened in this experiment was that the small chips produced the most amount of carbon dioxide in the time we gave each one and the medium chips produced more carbon dioxide then the large chips suggesting that the bigger the chips the slower the reaction and the smaller the chips the faster the rate of reaction. Evaluation: This experiment was successful because our results showed us that the larger the surface area the bigger amount of carbon dioxide will be made. Another experiment, which could have been done, instead which would have made an experiment were there were electrical sensors which measured the point of were it is needed to be measured to and this would eliminate human error because it would be accurate. The trends and patterns of this experiment show us that the smaller the reactants the larger the surface area and the bigger amount of C02 is produced. This was proved in our results and our graphs and was extremely important that it did. The powdered chips produced the highest amount of carbon dioxide but the reaction was too fast and we could have solved this problem by lowering the weight of powdered crystals so we could get a result and then scaled the graph. ...read more.

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