The speed at which chemical reactions proceed, is known as the rate of reaction. Different reactions proceed at different speeds. While some reactions are extremely slow, there are other reactions which take place in a matter of few seconds.

There are several factors which affect the rate of chemical reactions:
  • concentration of the reactants
  • temperature
  • total surface area of solid reactants
  • presence of catalysts
  • pressure, if the reactants are gases
Here, we will be discussing the total surface area factor.

We will refer to the images below to understand more on total surface area. (I got these images from Google Images).

The total surface area is made up of three pairs of sides for a total of six sides.

Now, see how the total surface area change when the size change.

From the images above, we can conclude that if we breaks a 1m X 1m cube into 4 pieces, the surface area will increase from 6 m2 to 12 m2. And If we breaks it into 18 pieces, the surface area increase to 18 m2.

In a solid-liquid mixture, the particle size of the solid reactant plays an important role. The greater the surface area, the higher the rate of a chemical reaction. For example: Smaller pieces of meat cook faster than the bigger pieces.

You might want to see the experiment on this topic which was done by 5 PKE2 and 5 PKM students. Click here: The Effect Of Total Surface Area On The Rate Of Reaction.

REMARKS: Thanks Google...