Activity Number
62
Editable
Overview and Learning Objectives
Central Concepts
Macro Micro Link
Activity Credits
Requirements

Explosion (5 interlinked models)

Interactive model, with minimal support

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Overview and Learning Objectives

An exothermic reaction evolves heat. The heat energy comes from the chemical energy stored in the bonds. If more stable bonds are formed after the reaction, the energy difference between the newly formed bonds and the previous ones will be liberated as thermal energy. The heat evolved in an individual reaction is then transferred into kinetic energy, which can be delivered to other molecules in the system through collisions.

Having gained energy, the molecules have a better chance of overcoming the activation barriers, a condition which subsequently results in more reaction and more release of energy. If the amount of energy released is large enough in a certain period of time, this will initiate an avalanche, which ultimately becomes visible as an explosion at the macroscopic level.

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Central Concepts

Key Concept:

An explosion can happen when the energy released in an initial reaction activates additional reactions.

Additional Related Concepts

Physics/Chemistry

  • Chemical reaction
  • Exothermic reaction

Systems

  • Explosion

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Macro Micro Link

An explosion caused by raising temperature, ignition, light induction, and the introduction of a few free radicals all can be modeled easily with this simple model.

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Activity Credits

Created by CC Project: CCATOMS using Molecular Workbench

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Requirements

  • Java 1.5+ - Java 1.5+ is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.4 and greater. If you are using Mac OS X 10.3, you can download MW Version 1.3 and explore within it instead.

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NSF Logo
These materials are based upon work supported
by the National Science Foundation under grant numbers
9980620, ESI-0242701, EIA-0219345, DUE-0402553, and 0628181.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this
material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect
the views of the National Science Foundation.