Consider the gas-phase decomposition of cyclobutane, C4H8, to ethylene, C2H4, which occurs via a unimolecular elementary reaction:
1. Write the rate law for this reaction. Express the rate of reaction in terms of concentration. (Don’t just write “rate =”, use Δ[A]/Δt.)
2. Describe in words which bonds must break and which bonds must form when this reaction occurs.
3. Based on your description in part 2, suggest a structure for the activated complex (transition state) for this reaction. Use dotted lines to indicate existing bonds that are partially broken or new bonds that are partially formed.
4. At the temperature of the kinetic study the reaction energy change, ΔrG° = – 300 kJ/mol. The activation energy, Ea = 261 kJ/mol. Use this information to draw a reaction energy diagram. Make the vertical axis scale as accurate as possible. Draw the structures of the reactant, the transition state, and the product molecules at appropriate positions on the diagram.
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