Henry Eyring. The Activated Complex in Chemi.pdf


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The Activated Complex in Chemical Reactions
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are small, the term (1 − exp (hvi /kT )) approaches the value kT /hvi , and remembering
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that vi = (1/2π) (fi /mi ) 2 where fi is the corresponding force constant and mi the reduced
mass, we see that B will be dependent upon temperature and depend on mass in the way
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previously supposed, i.e., B ∼ T /m 2 . The actual dependence will lie between this extreme
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and B ∼ 1/T 2 . The results of Topley and the present author, soon to be published, indicate
that actually the system should more closely approach the latter dependence. These authors
have calculated values of B for both the ortho-para-hydrogen conversion and the reaction Br
+ H2 which agree with experiment.
It should be emphasized that in the particular formulation (2) of our specific reaction rate
constant all the quantities may be calculated from the appropriate potential surface which
can always be constructed at least approximately. However, in cases where any part of the
partition functions is more accurately known from some other source such information can
of course be incorporated.
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If one realizes that the term (2πmkT ) 2 /h for a translational degree of freedom has a value
of the order of 108 for a light atom at ordinary temperature, one sees that the replacement of
two terms like this in the initial products by two bending vibrations in the activated complex
introduces a factor in k of the order 10−16 . This factor is of course the analog of the collision
area in the rough kinetic picture and explains why the kinetic picture works approximately,
since the other terms in (2), except the average velocity, p/m? , are not very different from
unity for many reactions. A discussion showing when the general statistical treatment reduces
to the usual kinetic theory treatment is given farther on.
In the case where the least activation energy corresponds to a non-linear activated complex
the terms
8π 2 I3 kT / σ3 h2

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Y

(1 − exp (−hvi? /kT ))

−1

i=1

in equation (2) are replaced by the quantity
8π 2 8π 3 A? B ? C ?

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3

(kT ) 2 h−3

2
Y

(1 − exp (−hvi? /kT ))

−1

i=1

In this case we see a vibrational degree of freedom has become a rotational one. The letters
A? B ? C ? now correspond to the principal moments of inertia of the activated complex. The
calculation of the reaction rate and of B and E then proceeds exactly as before.

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