2016 Introductory Chemical Kinetics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Chemistry
Kouchi Noriyuki  Kitajima Masashi 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(H137)  Fri3-4(H137)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

The course gives the overview of the chemical reaction from the macroscopic and microscopic points of view. First of all the basic concepts, i.e. the reaction rate, reaction rate constant, rate equation, reaction order and molecularity, are given. Then, the characteristics of the first-order and second-order reactions is shown. From the microscopic points of view the transition state theory on the rate constant is discussed. From more microscopic points of view the concepts of the reaction cross section is introduced instead of the rate constant , and the relation between the reaction rate constant and reaction cross section is discussed. The outline of the diffusion-controlled reaction is given as an example of reactions in the condensed phase.
The aim of this course is getting the basic recipe for understnading chemical reactions.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to understand
1)chemical reactions from the macroscopic points of view and microscopic points of view, i.e. atomic and molecular picture,
2)the basis of the reactions in the condensed phase.


Reaction kinetics, Transition state throry, Diffusion controlled reaction

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The first five lessons concern the chemical reaction from the macroscopic points of view, the next eight lessons concern the chemical reaction from the microscopic points of view. The last two lessons deal with the cemical reaction in the condensed phase.Every lesson consists of mainly a lecture. From time to time the very small test is assigned during a class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 The reaction from the macroscopic points of view(the reaction rate, the reaction rate constant, and the reaction rate equation) Understand the basic concepts on reaction kinetics
Class 2 The reaction from the macroscopic points of view(the reaction order and molecurality ) and first-order reaction Understand the difference between the reaction order and molecularity. Understand the characteristics of the first-order reaction.
Class 3 The second-order reaction and pseudofirst-order reaction Understand the characteritics of the second-order reaction and pseudofirst-order reaction.
Class 4 The reaction intermediate Understand what the reaction intermediate is.
Class 5 The analysis of complex reactions(the steady-state approximation) Understand the steady-state approximation as a useful tool for analyzing complex reactions.
Class 6 The Arrhenius equation Understand what the Arrhenius equation is and the concept of the activation energy.
Class 7 The Born-Oppenheimer approximation Understand the Born-Oppenheimer approximation.
Class 8 The bimolecular reaction and potential energy surface Explain the bimolecular reaction by use of the potential energy surface.
Class 9 The transition state theory(What is the transition state?) Explain the outline of the transition state theory.
Class 10 The transition state theory(The way to the Arrhenius equation) Derive the Arrhenius equation within the transition state theory.
Class 11 The reaction as a two-body collision(1)-The collision cross section Explain what the collision cross section is.
Class 12 The reaction as a two-body collision-The bimolecular reaction and collision Understand that the bimolecular reaction is considered a kind of collisions.
Class 13 The reaction as a two-body collision(3)-The reaction cross section and reaction rate constant Derive the relation between the rate constant of the bimolecular reaction and reaction cross section.
Class 14 The reaction in the condensed phase(1)-The diffusion and conduction Understand the diffusion and conduction of solutes.
Class 15 The reaction in the condensed phase(2)-The rate constant of the diffusion-controlled reaction Understand what the diffusion-controlled reaction is and obtain its rate constant.


Home-made textbook is distributed.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

P.W. Atkins., Physical Chemistry (Oxford University Press, 1998)

Assessment criteria and methods

Students are assessed on understanding of basic concepts and applicability of them.
Small tests during class 10%
Homework assignments 10%
Final examination 80%

Related courses

  • ZUC.C330 : Exercise in Advanced Chemistry I
  • CHM.C201 : Introductory Quantum Chemistry
  • CHM.C202 : Chemical and Statistical Thermodynamics
  • CHM.C334 : Chemical Kinetics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

We recommend that students have successfully completed Introductory Quantum Chemistry (CHM.C201) and Chemical and Statistical Thermodynamics(CHM.C202). We recommend that students take Exercise in Advanced Chemistry I (ZUC.C330) as well.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Noriyuki Kouchi: nkouchi[at]chem.titech.ac.jp
Masashi Kitajima: kitajim[at]chem.titech.ac.jp

Office hours

Contact by email in advance to schdule an appointment.
Noriyuki Kouchi(West Building 4, Room 508)
Masashi Kitajima(West Building 4, Room 503)

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