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# Lab - Measuring an Activation Energy

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Introduction

LAB: MEASURING AN ACTIVATION ENERGY Activation Energy: Defined as the amount of energy required to initiate a chemical reaction or the difference in energy of the reactants and the energy of the activated complex (Ea). Objective: To examine the effect of changing temperature on the rate of the reaction of permanganate ions with oxalic acid according to the equation: 2MnO4- + 5H2C2O4 + 6H+ 2Mn2+ + 10CO2 + 8H2O Objective: To determine the activation energy for the reaction. Procedure: See attached. Note that due to time constraints, multiple trials were not able to be performed. Data Collection: Quantitative Data Trial Temp (�C � 0.3) Temp (K) 1/Temp (K) Time (sec � 0.5) 1/Time=Rate ln(Rate) 1 38.8 311.8 0.00321 349 0.00287 -5.85507 2 63.5 336.5 0.00297 45 0.02222 -3.80667 3 70.3 343.3 0.00291 29 0.03448 -3.36730 4 86.1 359.1 0.00278 12 0.08333 -2.48491 5 94.2 367.2 0.00272 6 0.16667 -1.79176 Qualitative Data The permanganate liquid was an extremely deep shade of purple, and the oxalic acid was virtually transparent. For the first trial, after heating both the permanganate and acid up to about 40�C, when I proceeded to mix them, the reaction almost never took place. ...read more.

Middle

No smell was derived from this process, and the beaker did feel a little warm on the outside, thus it was an exothermic reaction. Data Processing: Graph 1: Temperature (K) vs. Time (sec) As we can see from the above graph, the relationship between temperature (K) and time (sec) is clearly not of a linear nature. This makes sense, because when we take the tangent to the curve on the graph above, we will have the rate of each reaction. We know that by increasing the temperature, since temperature is proportional to the average kinetic energy of the particles, the number of collisions will increase as well as the energy of the particles themselves - so more particles have sufficient energy to overcome the activation energy barrier and undergo successful collisions. This in turn means that the rate of reaction will increase with the temperature. Because of this presumed knowledge, if the graph of temperature vs. time was indeed linear, then the tangents would all be equal (meaning the rates would all be equal) and we clearly know this is not the case. ...read more.

Conclusion

I was also able to learn, from the Arrhenius equation, a graphical interpretation of the relationships between temperature and time and temperature and rate. Although I did not calculate a percent error for this experiment, the uncertainty evident in my raw data collection still serves to show that there were sources of error. Firstly, in terms of systematic error, one was the equipment, specifically the test tubes used. They were varying in size, and inside some of them there was still leftover "gunk" from other experiments - despite our best efforts to clean them. Another source of error could be the accuracy of the thermometer: even though we were consistent in the thermometer we used, we had to share 1 between 3 water baths, therefore maybe we didn't allow enough time for it to absorb or readjust to the varying temperature conditions. A source of random error could be the heat loss between the time we took the test tubes out of the water bath to when we actually mixed them: even though we heated them to a constant temperature, in the time that it took to mix the two contents together and stir, some heat was probably lost. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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