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Transition state theory
In chemistry, transition state theory is a conception of chemical reactions or other processes involving rearrangement of matter as proceeding through a continuous change or "transition state" in the relative positions and potential energies of the constituent atoms and molecules. The theory was developed by Henry Eyring and Michael Polanyi in 1931, with their construction of a potential energy surface for a chemical reaction, and later, in 1935, by H. Pelzer and Eugene Wigner. Meredith Evans, working in coordination with Polanyi, also contributed significantly to this theory.
Additional recommended knowledge
Transition state theory is also known as activated-complex theory or theory of absolute reaction rates.
Transition state theory assumes once a reaction passes through its reaction barrier it cannot go back again. Whilst transition state theory is a large improvement on simple collision theory, it requires knowledge of the partition function of intermediate species which, due to their high energy and short lifespan, can be hard to determine spectroscopically.
In 1940s and 50s, chemists were struggling to understand how rates of chemical reactions vary with structure change. To solve this problem, George S. Hammond, an organic chemist at Iowa State College, suggested that transition state theory, which had previously been the domain of physical chemists, could be used in a qualitative manner to explain structure-reactivity relationships in a variety of organic reactions. In 1955 Hammond stated:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Transition_state_theory". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|