The Direct Study of Rates of Simple Proton-Transfer Reactions

  • R. P. Bell


Everyday laboratory experience suggests that, with very few exceptions, reactions between acids and bases are extremely fast, since no time lag is observable in the dissociation of acids or bases, buffer action, hydrolysis, etc. In fact, for many purposes proton-transfer reactions involving simple acids and bases are fast enough to be treated as equilibrium processes. However, there are two reasons why the rates of these processes are of interest. In the first place modern techniques have made it possible to measure the rates of extremely fast reactions, with half-times down to about 10−9 second, and hence to obtain information about the mechanism of such reactions. In the second place, when proton-transfer reactions are coupled with other chemical processes they may lead to slow observable changes, in particular to the catalysis of reactions by acids and bases. The latter type of approach is historically the older, but it is more logical to consider first the direct observation of reactions between simple acids and bases, as will be done in this chapter. Some general features of the experimental results will be described, but detailed consideration of the relations between rates, equilibria, and structures will be deferred until Chapter 10, so as to include the information obtained less directly from studies of acid-base catalysis, described in Chapters 8 and 9.


Velocity Constant Fast Reaction Temperature Jump Direct Study Solute Species 
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Copyright information

© R. P. Bell 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StirlingScotland

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