- A catalyst speeds up a reaction by
A catalyst is a substance that can increase the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being consumed in the process. Catalysts can accelerate reactions by providing an alternative, lower-energy pathway for the reaction to take place. This is known as the activation energy of the reaction and is the energy required to break down the reactants and form the products (Gillespie, 2018). Catalysts work by providing a surface for the reactants to interact with, and by temporarily bonding to the reactants, thus providing a lower activation energy pathway for the reaction to proceed (Snyder, 2020). Catalysts are incredibly important in the chemical industry, as they can be used to speed up reactions which would otherwise take too long to be practical. For example, hydrogenation reactions are used to produce margarine and other polyunsaturated fats, and this process can be accelerated by a catalyst such as nickel (Gillespie, 2018). In addition, catalysts are used in automobile engines to break down pollutants in the exhaust and convert them into less harmful chemicals, such as water vapor and carbon dioxide (Snyder, 2020). The use of catalysts in chemical reactions also offers a… Cont…
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