Steady-state Approximation and Rate-determining Step: Summary

The answers to the ConcepTests are given below and will open in a separate window. 
Key points from this module:
  1. The rate-determining step in a reaction mechanism is the step furthest from equilibrium.
  2. The reaction steps other than the rate-determining step are assumed to be in equilibrium.
  3. The steady-state approximation assumes all steps in a reaction mechanism occur at the same rate.
  4. The rate-determining step assumption assumes the steady-state approximation applies to the reaction mechanism.
From studying this module, you should now 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.

Prepared by John L. Falconer, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder