Interactive Self-Study Module: Steady-state Approximation and Rate-Determining Step


This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain the steady-state approximation and rate-determining steps. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, and questions in screencasts, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
  2. Watch the screencasts that describe the steady-state approximation and rate-determining step and answer the questions within the screencast.
  3. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the steady-state approximation.
  4. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencast.
  5. Answer the ConcepTests.
  6. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • This module is intended for a course in kinetics/reactor design.
Before studying this module, you should:
  • Understand rate expressions that describe how the rate of a chemical reaction depends on the concentrations of reactants.
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Apply the steady-state approximation to a reaction mechanism.
  • Apply the rate-determining step to a reaction mechanism.
  • Explain what the rate-determining step assumes.