What is activation energy? [Online Video]

In this Chemistry learning video, we will focus on activation energy.

What is activation energy?

Activation energy is the minimum amount of energy that reactant particles must possess in order for a chemical reaction to occur.


All chemical substances are made of particles that are in constant random motion. Bumping of particles onto one another will only result in chemical reaction if there is enough energy. A chemical reaction reaction will occur, if the particles move with enough chemical energy to react. This energy is called activation energy.

Scenario 1

We have two chemical substances, X2 and Z2. The particles collide but do not reaction upon collision as they do not have enough energy for reaction to occur. X2 and Z2 remain unchanged.

Scenario 2

We have two chemical substances, X2 and Z2. More energy is pumped into the system, hence X2 and Z2 have more energy, as compared in scenario 1. When the particles bump into one another, reaction occurs and new substance, XZ is formed. This is because X2 and Z2 possess energy equal or greater than the activation energy.

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