Problem: The desorption (leaving of the surface) of a single molecular layer of n-butane from a single crystal of aluminum oxide was found to be first order with a rate constant of 0.128/s at 150 K.What is the half-life of the desorption reaction?

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We’re being asked to calculate the half-life (t1/2) of a first-order reaction with a rate constant of 0.128 s–1


Recall that half-life is the time needed for the amount of a reactant to decrease by 50% or one-half. The half-life of a first-order reaction is given by:


t12=ln2k


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Problem Details

The desorption (leaving of the surface) of a single molecular layer of n-butane from a single crystal of aluminum oxide was found to be first order with a rate constant of 0.128/s at 150 K.

What is the half-life of the desorption reaction?

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