What is the order of a reaction?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The order of a reaction in some species seems an obvious, trivial concept that all chemists master. However, in complex situations such as catalytic systems, the order of a reaction is not always that simple: it can be partial, negative and function of other parameters. In order to analyze rate laws and experimental orders of complex reaction networks, it is necessary to have a proper mathematical description of what the order of a reaction is. In general, chemists working in catalysis are unaware that such a mathematical description exists and therefore they are restricted to analyzing only extreme limit cases of rate laws. This manuscript offers a description and a simple demonstration of this concept, known as elasticity coefficient or normalized sensitivity. It also presents several examples of applications on classic and usual catalytic scenarios.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017