Reaction Kinetics

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 2

Typically offered in

Spring semester

Course description

The aim of the course is that students acqiure an active knowledge of advanced general theories and several special topics of chemical kinetics, enough to form a basis for understanding and using diverse concepts, techniques and applications of traditional and contemporary chemical kinetic developments.

Topics covered are the following: Molecular theories of chemical reactions. Potential energy surfaces. Quasi-equilibrium and dynamic derivation of the Transition State Theory rate constant. Variational Transition State Theory. Classical and quantum-mechanical simulations to calculate rate constants. Analytical and numerical solutions of large reaction mechanisms. Reduction of the number of species and reactions. Quasi-steady-state approximation and its error. Reactions in liquid solutions. Ionic and polar transition states in polar solvents. Kinetic salt effects. Diffusion controlled reactions. Reaction-diffusion systems. Isotope effects. Linear free energy relationships and other semi-quantitative relations. Photochemistry, especially laser induced reactions. Radiation chemistry. Kinetics of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Acid-base catalysis. Experimental methods in chemical kinetics according to different time scales. Molecular dynamics and laser photolysis experiments. Ultrafast lasers and femtochemistry. Exact quantum mechanical calculations of rate constants for reactions containing 3–4 atoms. Exotic dynamic systems; oscillations, pattern formation and chemical chaos.

In the second part of the course, invited speakers – active researchers of the actual topics – give guest lectures to ensure the up-to-date nature of the course.


Compulsory literature*:

  • M.J. Pilling, P.W. Seakins: Reaction Kinetics, Oxford University Press, 1995

Suggested literature:

  • P. W. Atkins, J. de Paula: Physical Chemistry, 9th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2009

  • Several actualised resources are also available at the website of the course that might change from one year to another.