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How to figure the q10 temperature coefficient

Updated April 17, 2017

The Q10 temperature coefficient is the factor by which a rate of reaction (such as a chemical reaction) increases for each ten-degree increase in the temperature, measured in degrees Celsius. Q10 is defined by the equation Q10 = (R2/R1) ** [10/(T2-T1)], where the double asterisks denote the exponential function and Rn = the rate of reaction at temperature Tn. If you measure the reaction rate at any two temperatures, you can enter the rates and temperatures in this equation to solve for Q10.

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Measure the rates of a reaction at two temperatures. Call the rates R1 at temperature T1 and R2 at temperature T2. Write the values of R1, R2, T1 and T2 on a piece of paper. This will help you to avoid confusion.

Compute R2/R1 and write down your answer. For example, if R1 = 8 and R2 = 24, compute 24/8 = 3.

Compute T2 -- T1 and write down your answer. In the example, say T1 = 40 degrees Celsius and T2 = 70 degrees Celsius. Then T2 -- T1 = 70 - 40 = 30.

Divide 10 by your answer from Step 3. In the example, you compute 10/30 = 0.333. Write that down.

Raise R2/R1 to the power 10/(T2-T1). You determined R2/R1 in Step 2 and you computed 10/(T2-T1) in Step 4. In the example, you raise 3 to the power 0.333. Perform this computation on the Scientific Calculator (see Resources) by entering "3", pressing the "y to the x" key (the first key in the third row), entering ".333" and pressing the "=" key. The answer is 1.44. This is the value of Q10.

Tip

You must use temperatures in degrees Celsius to compute Q10. You can convert a temperature F in degrees Fahrenheit to the temperature C in degrees Celsius with the equation C = (F - 32) x (5/9). For example, if F = 212, then C = (212 -- 32) x (5/9) = 180 x (5/9) = 100.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scientific calculator
  • Paper and pencil

About the Author

Jim Dorsch has been a writer and editor since 1991. He has written for major newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "Chicago Tribune," and is publisher and editor of "American Brewer" magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a Master of Science in statistics from Purdue University.

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