Starvation Kinetics

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Science  17 Feb 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4330, pp. 740-743
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4330.740


Reactions that take place in shock waves are slow compared to the energy present in the translational degrees of freedom. One explanation for the slow burning in a detonation is that successive surface layers of the solid or liquid must react sequentially. Another mechanism, which can also account for the slowness of reactions in shock waves in gases, is the basis for starvation kinetics: the bond that is breaking must draw its activation energy from a vibrational reservoir in disequilibrium with the translational degrees of freedom of the reacting molecule.