2020 Introductory Chemical Kinetics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Chemistry
Koshihara Shinya  Kitajima Masashi 
Class Format
Lecture    (ZOOM)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue3-4(H137)  Fri3-4(H137)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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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 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,
chemical reactions from the macroscopic points of view and microscopic points of view, i.e. atomic and molecular picture,


Reaction kinetics, Transition state theory

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

The lessons in the first half term concern the chemical reaction from the macroscopic points of view, the lessons in the second half term concern the chemical reaction from the microscopic points of view. Every lesson consists of mainly a lecture.

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 A simple model for the temperature dependence of the reaction rate Understand the temperature dependence of the reaction rate for bimolecular reactions with a simple model.
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 sections.
Class 14 Summary Understand the chemical reaction from the macroscopic and microscopic points of view.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


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.
Homework assignments 20%
Final examination 80%

Related courses

  • CHM.C201 : Introductory Quantum Chemistry
  • CHM.C202 : Chemical and Statistical Thermodynamics
  • CHM.C334 : Chemical Kinetics
  • CHM.C303 : Exercise in Introductory 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 Introductory Chemical Kinetics(CHM.C303 ) as well.

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

Shinya Koshihara: skoshi[at]cms.titech.ac.jp
Masashi Kitajima: mkitajim[at]chem.titech.ac.jp

Office hours

Contact by email in advance to schdule an appointment.
Shinya Koshihara (Main Building, Room 118)
Masashi Kitajima (West Building 4, Room 503)

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