Kinetic Analysis of Iodine Clock Reaction

Experiment: Determine the Rate Law and Activation Energy of the Iodine Clock Reaction

The “iodine clock” reaction involves the mixing of two colorless solutions to produce a solution which remains colorless for a precise amount of time, then suddenly changes to a deep purple-blue color (as seen in the demonstration below). The time is controlled by the temperature and/or the concentrations of the reactants.


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The reaction you will study involves the oxidation of iodide ion (I-) to dissolved tri-iodide ion (I3-):

6 H+ + IO3- + 8 I- 3 I3- + 3 H2O

Triiodide ion combines with starch indicator to produce the characteristic purple-blue color. Timing how long it takes for the blue color to appear allows the rate of the reaction to be measured.

Experimental Goals

In this lab simulation, your goals will be to:

  1. Determine the rate law for the iodine clock reaction by using the method of initial rates to determine the reaction order for each reaction (IO3-, I- and H+) and the rate constant for the reaction.
  2. Determine the activation energy for the iodine clock reaction by measuring the rate constant for the reaction at different temperatures.
  3. Use the experimentally determined rate law to examine the plausibility of proposed mechanisms for the iodine clock reaction.

Lab Instructions

Download lab instructions for carrying out this experiment as either a MS-Word or PDF file.

These instructions contain an extensive background explaining the basis for the iodine clock reaction and how to use an online lab simulation (Links to an external site.) of the iodine clock reaction (provided by Prof. Gary Bertrand, Missouri University of Science and Technology) to collect experimental data. They also contain details of how to analyze the data to determine the rate law and other kinetic parameters.

When you have completed the experimental analysis you will answer a set of postlab questions included in the instructions file.

You should also consult the relevant segments of Chapter 14 for background and guidance as follows:

Goal 1: Module 5 Determining Rate Laws: Initial Rates Method

Goal 2: Module 6 Collision Theory, Activation Energy, Temperature and Catalysts

Goal 3: Module 6 Reaction Mechanisms

Preparing and submitting your work

The lab instructions also explain what you need to do to prepare a lab report for submission.

When you have completed this assignment and are ready to submit your lab report, click the “Submit Assignment” button at the top of this page and use the options available to upload your file. Remember to click “Submit”. The due date is Sunday March 21st at 11:59 pm.

If you need help, or have not submitted an assignment in Canvas before, check out this assignments help video.

Useful Links

  • Iodine clock simulation website (Links to an external site.)
  • A useful guide to creating graphs with MS-Excel including best-fit straight lines. (Links to an external site.)
  • A tool for converting files to PDF format (Links to an external site.)
  • A tool for merging PDF files

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