The Rate-Determining Step is Dead. Long Live the Rate-Determining State!

Sebastian Kozuch, Jan M.L. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


The concept of a rate-determining step (RD-Step) is central to the kinetics community, and it is basic knowledge even for the undergraduate chemical student. In spite of this, too many different definitions of the RD-Step appear in the literature, all of them with drawbacks. This dilemma has been thoroughly studied by several authors in the attempt to "patch" the drawbacks and bring the RD-Step to a correct physical meaning. Herein we review with simple models the most notable definitions and some challengers of the RD-Step concept, to conclude with the deduction that there are no rate-determining steps, only rate-determining states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1418
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • catalysis
  • kinetics
  • rate-determining step
  • reaction mechanisms
  • transition-state theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'The Rate-Determining Step is Dead. Long Live the Rate-Determining State!'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this