Reactions involving forming bonds are exothermic, and their energy release is proportional to the square of the bond dissociation energy. Therefore, it is essential to know how much energy must be provided to break a bond. This value can be calculated from experimental data, and it depends on the type of bond being formed. In general, ionic bonds are stronger than covalent ones because they have lower bond dissociation energies.

Activation energy – definition

To fully understand the concept of activation energy, it’s important to remember that every chemical reaction requires a certain amount of energy. This minimum amount of energy is known as activation energy.

Activation energy is a fundamental parameter in many fields and applications—chemistry, physics, materials science, and so forth—and it represents an estimate of the resistance to chemical transformation. In other words:

  • Activation energy is the minimum energy required to initiate a reaction;
  • It can be attributed to both catalysts and reactants;

The activation energy is the minimum energy required to initiate a reaction. It is an important parameter in many fields and applications, as it represents an estimate of the resistance to chemical transformation (hence it is important for catalysts). The activation energy can be calculated from the reaction rate constant, which changes depending on environmental conditions.

Ionic bonds

To form an ionic bond, the electron deficiency of one atom (the metal) must be made up by transferring electrons from another atom (the non-metal). This transfer happens because the atoms involved have a high enough energy level to allow them to do so. If a substance has higher activation energy than another substance, then it will be more difficult for them to create an ionic bond.

Covalent bonds

Covalent bonds are the strongest type of bond and are formed by the sharing of electrons between atoms. The two types of covalent bonds are ionic and polar covalent.

Ionic bonds occur when a metal atom loses an electron, which creates a positive ion (cation), or an atom that donates electrons is left with a negative charge (anion).

Optimization of this parameter is usually essential for technological purposes

A common parameter in many fields and applications, activation energy is a measure of the resistance to chemical transformation. In general, activation energy is defined as the minimum energy required to initiate a reaction; it is often also referred to as the “activation barrier”.

Activation energies for reactions can be determined experimentally or calculated theoretically from molecular orbital theory. The latter approach is most useful when considering reactions that are not easily accessible through experimentation (for example, because they occur at high temperatures).

How to use the activation energy calculator

To calculate the activation energy, you need to know three things:

  • The temperature of the environment
  • The reaction rate coefficient
  • The frequency factor


What is activation energy?

Activation energy, in chemistry, is the minimum amount of energy that is required to activate atoms or molecules to a condition in which they can undergo a chemical transformation or physical transport.

Why is activation energy important?

The activation energy of a particular reaction determines the rate at which it will proceed.

What are catalysts?

Catalysts are substances that enable a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible.