# What is the difference between Molecularity and Order Of Reaction?

In the field of Chemical Kinetics, terms like Molecularity and Order Of Reaction are often used. I am a bit confused between these two terms.

Can someone explain to me about these two terms and their origins?

In fact, molecularity and order of reaction are identical if the reaction is elementary. They may become different when the reaction is complex and has a mechanism.

The molecularity of a reaction is defined as the number of molecules or ions that participate in the rate determining step. A mechanism in which two reacting species combine in the transition state of the rate-determining step is called bimolecular. If a single species makes up the transition state, the reaction would be called unimolecular. The relatively improbable case of three independent species coming together in the transition state would be called termolecular.

The order of a reaction is an experimentally derived number. Let's consider the general reaction: $\ce{A + B-> C + D}$ The reaction rate$=\ce{k[A]^n.[B]^m}$ where the rate constant $k$ is a proportionality constant that reflects the nature of the reaction, $\ce{[A]}$ is the concentration of reactant $\ce{A}$, $\ce{[B]}$ is the concentration of reactant $\ce{B}$, and $n$ & $m$ are the exponents used to fit the rate equation to the experimental data. Chemists refer to the sum $n + m$ as the kinetic order of a reaction.

In a simple bimolecular reaction $n$ and $m$ would both be $1$, and the reaction would be termed second order, supporting a mechanism in which a molecule of reactant $\ce{A}$ and one of $\ce{B}$ are incorporated in the transition state of the rate-determining step. A bimolecular reaction in which two molecules of reactant $\ce{A}$ (and no $\ce{B}$) are present in the transition state would be expected to give a kinetic equation in which $n=2$ and $m=0$ (also second order).

Let's be precise.

Molecularity means number of concentration terms involved in RDS (rate determining step).

Order is the sum of the power of the concentration terms present in RDS.

Look in simple terms molecularity is defined as the total number of reactants participating in a reaction , However the order is calculated experimentally only .

For example the hydrolysis of methyl acetate is bi molecular as two reactants are present but is 1st order.

1. The order of a reaction reduces if any reactant is in excess however it is not so in the case of molecularity .
2. Further the order is decided on the basis of rate determining step it is not so in case of molecularity .
3. Molecularity is not defined for a complex reaction or multi-step reaction however order is.
4. Molecularity always has non negative integral values but order can take any real values .