127 Introduction to Kinetics
Jessie A. Key
Speed plays an important role in many of the things we do in everyday life. If you sleep in and need to get to your chemistry lecture quickly, you may choose to drive instead of walk because driving is faster. You may use a favourite website for streaming video content online, because of its quick and reliable download speeds. Applying for a summer job, you may have had to include your typing speed on your resume to show your competency on computers. These examples emphasize that the speed of a process is an important consideration in our everyday lives.
Similarly, the speed of a chemical reaction is also a significant consideration and is called its reaction rate. Reaction rates vary dramatically, with some reactions occurring on a time scale of seconds, while other reactions take many thousands of years. Several factors can influence reaction rate, and the study of the interplay between these factors and the rate of a chemical reaction is called kinetics.