# Will increasing the activation energy increase or decrease the rate of a reaction?

Aug 10, 2017

Decrease.

#### Explanation:

From the Arrhenius equation the activation energy (${E}_{a}$) is exponentially inversely proportional to the rate constant ($k$). Because the exponent has a negative sign, increasing the numeric value decreases the resulting exponential term.

$k = A \cdot \text{exp} \left(- \frac{{E}_{a}}{R T}\right)$, $\text{ }$where ${e}^{x} \equiv \text{exp} \left(x\right)$

Higher activation energies decrease the rate of a reaction. That is the main reason catalysts are so important in the chemical industry. Catalysts reduce the activation energy, allowing for more effective and efficient processes.