Boltzmann distribution curves show the number of particles with a given amount of energy in a system.
Effects of changing concentration, temperature and the use of a catalyst on the energies of particles can be shown.
Boltzmann Distribution Curves
A Maxwell-Boltzman distribution curve is a way of showing how many reacting particles have the required activation energy in a system. The distribution curve applies to gases at a constant temperature.
All particles in a system have energy, but some have more energy than others. Particles that have the required activation energy required for a reaction can successfully collide and react.
By increasing the temperature of a system, there is an increase in the energy that the particles have. Therefore, more particles have the required activation energy.
By increasing the concentration of molecules within a system, the actual energy of the molecules does not change. The proportion of molecules with the required activation energy is the same, there are just more of them! Because of this, more particles in the system have the required activation energy and react.
By using a catalyst, the energy of particles in the system is not change, but the activation energy required for a successful collision is lowered. So, more particles are able to successfully collide.