The Biology Project: Biochemistry

Energy, Enzymes, and Catalysis Problem Set

Problem 11 Tutorial: Understanding activation energy

Activation energy is

A. energy that must be added to get a reaction started, which is recovered as the reaction proceeds
B. difference in energy between reactants and products
C. energy that is lost as heat
D. free energy
E. equal to the entropy times the absolute temperature

Activation energy

There is an energy barrier that separates the energy levels of the reactants and products. Energy must be added to the reactants to overcome the energy barrier, which is recovered when products are formed. The energy barrier is known as Ea, the activation energy. The activation energy is distinct from the ΔG, or free energy difference between the reactants and products.

The Biology Project
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
University of Arizona
Revised: October 2004
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