The decomposition of formic acid can occur by the following mechanism:

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The decomposition of formic acid can occur by the following mechanism:

HCOOH(aq) + H+

(aq) HCOOH2





(aq) HCO+

(aq) + H2O(l)


(aq) H+

(aq) + CO(g)

a) Write the overall reaction equation.

Jan 13th, 2015

a) HCOOH(aq)  H2O(l) + CO(g)

b) reactant - HCOOH

 products - H2O + CO

 rxn intermed. - HCOOH2


 and HCO+

 activated complex – none identified

 catalyst - H+


The exact shape of this diagram could vary, the important points would be

that the beginning (reactants) section of the graph would show a lower PE

than the ending (products) section – indicating an endothermic reaction.

The middle section should show three distinct peaks, each representing the

activated complex for each step of the reaction. With the information you

have the relative heights of the peaks and troughs are just guesswork


Again, the exact shape could vary, you have no information about the

steps of the uncatalyzed mechanism, Important features would be that the

two diagrams should have the same heights for the reactants and products

segments (H is unchanged) and the rise to the peak (or at least one of the

peaks if you have multiple peaks) must be higher that the highest rise of

the catalyzed reaction’s peaks (indicating higher Ea  a slower rxn) 

Jan 13th, 2015

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