IB Chemistry home > Syllabus 2016 > Kinetics > Rates of reaction

Syllabus ref: 6.1

Chemical reactions may proceed at rates that vary from extremely slow to almost instantaneous. For example, iron rusts in dry air at an almost infinitely slow rate. The study of kinetics looks at the factors that influence the speed of reactions, and from this glean an understanding the nature of the processes involved.

Kinetics of chemical reactions cannot be found theoretically. Evidence and data must be gathered by experiment.


The rate of reaction is expressed as the change in concentration of a particular reactant/product per unit time.

Concentration changes in a reaction can be followed indirectly by monitoring changes in mass, volume and colour.

Applications and skills

Analysis of graphical and numerical data from rate experiments.

Investigation of rates of reaction experimentally and evaluation of the results.

Sketching and explanation of energy profiles with and without catalysts.

In Chapter 6.1